Nicoletti, Gonson, Spinner, LLP

Sidewalk Liability – Exception to §7-210

§7-210 of the Administrative Code, enacted on September 14, 2003, shifted the duty to maintain sidewalks in a reasonably safe condition from the City of New York to the abutting property owner. A violation of this section can result in the abutting property owner being liable for injuries sustained by a plaintiff whose injuries are proximately caused by said violation.

An exception to §7-210 exists where the alleged dangerous condition falls within 12-inches outward from the perimeter of a sidewalk grating or cover, not owned by the abutting landowner. It is the owner of the grate or cover who has a statutory duty to monitor the area and make necessary repairs. The following sections of the Highway Rules govern this exception.

34 RCNY §2-07 [b][1] states, “The owners of covers or gratings on a street are responsible for monitoring the condition of the covers and gratings and the area extending twelve inches outward from the perimeter of the hardware.”

34 RCNY §2-07 [b][2] states, “The owners of covers or gratings shall replace or repair any cover or grating found to be defective and shall repair any defective street condition found within an area extending twelve inches outward from the perimeter of the cover or grating.”

The term “Street” is defined in 34 RCNY §2-01 to include sidewalks. It states, “The term “street” means a public street, avenue, road, alley, lane, highway, boulevard, concourse, parkway, driveway, culvert, sidewalk, crosswalk, boardwalk, viaduct, square or place, except marginal streets.”

The following cases have discussed these sections of the RCNY and have confirmed that the owners of covers or gratings in a sidewalk can be found liable for injuries sustained as a result of dangerous conditions found within the 12-inch perimeter of the cover or grate. Cruz v. New York Transit Authority, 19 A.D. 3d 130 (1 Dep’t. 2005); Cuevas v. City of New York, 32 A.D.3d 372 (1 Dep’t. 2006); Lightsy v. City of New York, 2007 WL 4241904, 4241904, 2007 N.Y. Slip Op. 33823(U), 33823(U) (Trial Order) (N.Y.Sup. Oct 30, 2007) (NO. 0004469/2006).