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Espinoza v. Karadimos

A-6194-01T3 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2003) (Unpublished)

SIDEWALKS—An owner-occupied three family house is a residence for the purpose of exemption from liability for a fall on the abutting sidewalk.

A woman fell on a raised portion of a public sidewalk abutting a three family house. The owner of the house used it as a primary residence. The lower court dismissed the injured woman’s complaint, holding “that the three-family home constituted a residential property rather than commercial property so that [the homeowner] owed no duty to maintain the sidewalk abutting her property in reasonably good condition.” The Appellate Division agreed, citing a 1997 case which read: “while the Supreme Court may have intended to include the property solely held for investment purposes within the Stewart rationale, it had no intention to subsume owner-occupied dwellings such as two- or three-family home, within the classification of commercial property.”

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