Town Failed to Show Routine Inspection of Sewer System—Summary Judgment in Sewer-Backup Case Properly Denied
The Second Department determined the town was not entitled to summary judgment in a case alleging the failure to maintain the town’s sewer system. The court explained the relevant analytical criteria:
A municipality is immune from liability “arising out of claims that it negligently designed [a] sewerage system” … . However, a municipality “is not entitled to governmental immunity arising out of claims that it negligently maintained the sewerage system as these claims challenge conduct which is ministerial in nature”… . In order for a municipality to demonstrate its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law in sewer backup cases, the municipality must show that it had no ” notice of a dangerous condition,'” and that “it regularly inspected and maintained the subject sewer line” … .
Here, the defendant Town …, failed to establish, prima facie, that it regularly inspected and maintained the subject sewer lines … . The evidence submitted by the Town in support of its motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint and all cross claims insofar as asserted against it demonstrated that the subject sewer lines had not been inspected more recently than approximately 19 months prior to the date of the sewage backup into the plaintiffs’ residence … . Under these circumstances, the Town failed to meet its prima facie burden of establishing its entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. Brandenburg v County of Rockland Sewer Dist. #1, State of N.Y., 2015 NY Slip Op 02719, 2nd Dept 4-1-15