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Valentin v. Pinto

A-5729-00T3 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2002) (Unpublished)

SIDEWALKS— A two family house with one unit being owner occupied affords that owner immunity from sidewalk liability.

A pedestrian stumbled and fell on a sidewalk and injured himself on the chain link fence along a property owner’s adjoining lawn. The lower court granted the property owner’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the complaint. The Appellate Division affirmed. A residential property owner is not liable for injuries resulting from a defective sidewalk abutting its property. In this case, the property consisted of a two-family house in which the owner occupied one unit. Since the owner occupied a unit, the entire property was considered residential and not commercial. Therefore, the owner was not liable for the pedestrian’s injuries. The Court rejected the pedestrian’s argument that the property owner was liable because a municipal ordinance required property owners to maintain the sidewalks in good repair. It held that, while the ordinance imposes a duty upon the property owner to maintain the sidewalks, it does not impose liability upon the property owner to a pedestrian for such an injury.

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