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Presta v. The Mack Corporation

A-1325-98T1 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 1999) (Unpublished)

LANDLORD-TENANT; LANDLORD’S LIABILITY—A tenant that controls a floor’s corridor is liable for falls caused by water tracked from a elevator controlled by its landlord.

A company’s employee slipped and fell after alighting from an elevator to the seventh floor, the entirety of which was leased by the employer. It had snowed heavily on the day of the accident. The injured party’s theory was that co-workers had tracked in water from the elevator, and the water caused the fall. An assertion was made that the landlord was responsible for the injuries because the elevator was maintained by, and was under control of, the landlord. The lower court and the Appellate Division disagreed with this thesis. The injured person’s employer had exclusive control over the hallway and was responsible for its maintenance. The employer implicitly acknowledged its responsibility by hiring janitorial services to clean and maintain the premises. Whether or not melting snow on the elevator floor was the original source of the water accumulated in the hallway, the landlord owed no duty to the claimant.


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