When a person slips and falls in an office building, it is important to ascertain who may be liable. Multiple tenants, a property management company, building owners, and even some vendors contracted to do certain work may have some responsibility. Liability may depend in part on the leases, contracts, and business arrangements among the potential defendants. In a recent case, a plaintiff challenged summary judgment in favor of two defendants.
The plaintiff slipped and fell down some stairs outside her acupuncturist’s office. The acupuncturist’s office was in a rented room on the second floor of a house with multiple tenants. The written lease was expired, and named just one tenant. The named tenant had moved out, and one of the other tenants collected rent from the others.
The patient sued the acupuncturist, the named tenant, the building’s owners, and other defendants for damages related to her injuries from the fall. The trial court found the acupuncturist and the named tenant did not owe the plaintiff a duty of care with respect to the stairs in the common area. The court granted summary judgment in favor of those defendants. The plaintiff appealed.