The Fourth Department, reversing (modifying) Supeme Court, determined plaintiff’s negligence cause of action seeking damages for exposure to contaminants on the land plaintiff purchased from defendant city should have been dismissed. A property owner’s liability for a dangerous condition ceases upon the transfer of the property:
We … agree with defendant that the court erred in denying the motion with respect to the negligence cause of action, and we therefore further modify the order accordingly. That cause of action is based on allegations that plaintiff was injured due to a dangerous condition on the parcel of property that defendant sold to plaintiffs, i.e., chemical contamination, to which plaintiff was exposed after the sale. It is well settled that “[o]ne’s liability in negligence for the condition of land ceases when the premises pass out of one’s control before injury results. Such is the general rule” … . Thus, under that general rule, defendant’s liability for negligence based on a dangerous condition on the property ended when it sold the parcel to plaintiffs … , and “liability may be imposed upon defendant only if the allegedly dangerous condition . . . existed at the time [it] relinquished possession and control of the premises ‘and the new owner has not had a reasonable time to discover the condition, if it was unknown, and to remedy the condition once it is known’ ” … .
Here, defendant met its burden on the motion of establishing that any injury allegedly sustained by plaintiff was caused by exposure after defendant sold the property. In response, “plaintiff[s have] offered nothing to show that [they, as] the new owner[s,] did not have adequate time to discover and remedy such defects” … . Powers v City of Geneva, 2021 NY Slip Op 01684, Fourth Dept 3-19-21