the order of Supreme Court which had denied the motion to dismiss, but the route taken bears some discussion here.
While it is true that 7-210 expressly shifts tort liability to the abutting landowner, that liability is only for injuries resulting from sidewalk defects. Existing defects in gratings or covers on the street are not part of 7-210, a statute in derogation of the common law which, therefore, must be strictly construed. Enter 34 RCNY 2-07(b), which makes owners of street covers or gratings responsible for their condition and the area “twelve inches outward from the perimeter of the hardware.”
Since defendants failed to make a prima facie showing that they did not own the catch basin or that plaintiff had been injured outside of the 12 inch perimeter centered by that catch basin, their motion must be denied.
The petty statute gambit cuts both ways, such as where vegetation on a property blocks sightlines and causes an auto collision.
In Preux v. Dennis, 2014 NY Slip Op 02763 (2d Dep’t 4/23/14), that’s just what happened. However, without a common law duty requiring that a property owner trim those obscuring hedges, and with no statutory requirement directing the trimming with the intend to protect motorists, the property owner has no tort liability either.