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Appellate Division Holds that Adjacent Landowner not Responsible for Fire Hydrant

The Appellate Division, Second Department, unanimously reversed the trial court’s denial of summary judgment to landowners/tenants, in a single-car motor vehicle accident case where the plaintiff’s vehicle hit a fire hydrant base that was located on the sidewalk adjacent to, but not within, the curb cut used by customers of the tenant.  In Burwell v. City of New York, 2012 97 A.D.3d 617, 948 N.Y.S.2d 401, 2012 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 5416, 2012 NY Slip Op 5489, 2012 WL 2819355 (N.Y. App. Div. 2d Dep't 2012), the Second Department agreed with our argument and held that the plaintiff’s testimony demonstrated that the alleged deterioration of the curb was not a proximate cause of the accident as a matter of law and that the landowners/tenant had no duty to maintain or repair the hydrant. In so holding, the Appellate Division implicitly determined that landowners/tenants have no duty to warn the public of protruding objects owned by the City of New York-an issue raised by the court below.