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Iasillo v. New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority

A-4607-02T5 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2004) (Unpublished)

LEASES; INDEMNITY—A tenant’s obligation to indemnify its landlord for incidents taking place in, on, around or about the property is broad enough to cover a accident in the parking lot where the activities conducted there by others were a customary part of, and related to, the tenant’s own activities within the premises.

A property owner leased a convention center to an association. The lease required the tenant to obtain insurance for any damage or injury to other persons attending the association’s convention, whether or not the injury occurred in, on, around, or about the property. The lease also required the association’s insurance policy to indemnify and hold the property owner harmless for all claims rising out of, or relating to, the association’s use of the property. The convention consisted of indoor activities as well as related exhibits set up in the parking area.

A patron fell in the parking area and sustained injuries, for which she sued the property owner and the tenant. The property owner sought indemnification from the tenant based on the lease. In response, the association claimed that the lease did not cover the parking area, only the building in which the convention took place. It claimed that its convention activities were limited to the building alone and that someone else was responsible for setting up, maintaining, and running the exhibits in the parking lot. The lower court rejected the association’s argument and found for the property owner. It found that the exhibits were part of the convention and that the parking lot where the patron fell was covered by the indemnification clause. The Appellate Division affirmed, finding that the lease language requiring the association to indemnify the owner for injuries taking place in, on, around or about the property was to be sufficiently broad to cover an injury that took place in the parking lot as part of an exhibit that was a customary part of the convention even if the parking lot was not under the control of the tenant.

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