Management Agreement Did Not Give Rise to Tort Liability for Slip and Fall
In determining the management agreement with a hospital did not give rise to tort liability for a slip and fall on the hospital premises, the Second Department explained the relevant law:
“Generally, a contractual obligation, standing alone, will not give rise to tort liability in favor of a third party” … . However, there are three exceptions to this general rule: (1) where the contracting party, in failing to exercise reasonable care in the performance of its duties, launches a force or instrument of harm or creates or exacerbates a hazardous condition; (2) where the plaintiff detrimentally relies on the continued performance of the contracting party’s duties; and (3) where the contracting party has entirely displaced the other party’s duty to maintain the premises safely … . “As part of its prima facie showing, a contracting defendant is only required to negate the applicability of those Espinal exceptions that were expressly pleaded by the plaintiff or expressly set forth in the plaintiff’s bill of particulars” … .
Here, the plaintiffs alleged that Sodexo [the building manager] maintained and controlled the premises. Sodexo established its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by submitting evidence establishing that the plaintiffs were not parties to the management agreement and thus, it owed the injured plaintiff no duty of care …; that the management agreement was not so comprehensive and exclusive as to displace the Hospital’s duty to maintain the premises safely …; and that it did not create the allegedly hazardous condition … . In opposition, the plaintiffs failed to raise a triable issue of fact. Sperling v Wyckoff Hgts. Hosp., 2015 NY Slip Op 04840, 2nd Dept 6-10-15