GVK Partner Matthew Levy obtained summary judgment in Supreme Court, New York County, on behalf of a residential building owner and managing agent before the Preliminary Conference and before any depositions.
Plaintiff claimed that she was injured when a falling branch from a tree located on the sidewalk struck her. Plaintiff sued the abutting building owner and managing agent in addition to the City of New York and New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Prior to the commencement of the lawsuit, the plaintiff gave sworn testimony at a 50h hearing in which she testified how she was struck by the falling tree branch. This testimony was used in support of the motion.
We argued that building owners do not have a duty to maintain the trees or tree wells located on the sidewalks abutting their buildings pursuant to NYC Administrative Code 7-210. We further argued that the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation is responsible for the “planting, care and cultivation of all trees” pursuant to NYC administrative Code 18-104. Plaintiff’s counsel and the City of New York opposed the motion by arguing that the motion is premature.
The motion was granted by Justice Verna Saunders on January 24, 2020. The Judge agreed that the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation has exclusive jurisdiction of the planting, care and cultivation of the trees. The Judge did not believe that the motion was made prematurely.