The Fourth Department determined the existence of an ordinance imposing upon abutting property owners the duty to maintain the sidewalk created a question of fact whether defendant breached that duty. Apparently the defect was caused by a root from a tree on village property which defendant alleged he had no authority to disturb. The ordinance, however did not include any exceptions to the duty to repair. The defect was not of such significance that summary judgment on liability as a matter of law was warranted:
… “[I]t is well established that, as an abutting landowner, [defendant] is not liable for injuries sustained as the result of a defect in the sidewalk unless[, inter alia,] . . . there is a local ordinance charging [defendant] with the duty to maintain and repair the sidewalk and imposing liability for injuries resulting from [defendant’s] failure to do so” … . Here, in opposition to the motion, plaintiff submitted relevant portions of the General Code of the Village of Hamburg (Village), which charges landowners such as defendant with the duty to “repair, keep safe and maintain any sidewalk abutting [the landowner’s] premises,” and imposes liability on the landowner “for any injury or damage by reason of omission or failure to repair, keep safe, and maintain such sidewalk” (Village of Hamburg General Code § 203-26 [B]; see § 203-28 [A] ).
We conclude that, by submitting that local ordinance, plaintiff raised an issue of fact whether defendant breached the duty imposed on it to maintain the sidewalk abutting its property. Although defendant contends that the alleged defect in the sidewalk was created by a tree root that it had no authority to disturb because it originated from a tree on property owned and maintained by the Village, we note that the local ordinance contains no exceptions to the duty imposed on abutting landowners to maintain the sidewalk, even if the allegedly dangerous condition was created by a root extending from Village property. In any event, it cannot be said as a matter of law that defendant could not have repaired the alleged defect in the sidewalk without cutting the tree root that purportedly created it … .
We agree with defendant, however, that the court erred in granting that part of plaintiff’s cross motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of negligence against defendant, and we therefore modify the order accordingly. “Generally, a sidewalk defect presents an issue of fact for a jury . . . , unless . . . the defect is so trivial as to warrant disposition [in defendant’s favor] on summary judgment” … . Here, we cannot conclude that the alleged defect, as depicted in photographs included in the record, is of such significance that defendant may be held liable as a matter of law … . Shatzel v 152 Buffalo St., Ltd., 2015 NY Slip Op 05333, 4th Dept 6-19-15