Out-of-Possession Landlord Not Liable for Slip-and-Fall Injuries
What Happened: An employee coming to work in the morning suffered serious injuries after slipping on ice in the office parking lot. Whether due to workers’ comp or just professional self-preservation, the employee decided that suing the landlord made a lot more sense than suing her employer. The landlord denied any liability for the incident.
Ruling: The Pennsylvania federal court agreed and tossed the employee’s negligence case.
Reasoning: As in most states, the rule in Pennsylvania is that an out-of-possession landlord isn’t responsible for injuries suffered by third parties on the leased premises. The employee acknowledged that the lease made the tenant—that is, her employer—responsible for removing snow and ice from the parking lots and common areas. But she insisted the landlord was still on the hook because it retained control over the property, specifically the right to inspect the property.
The court disagreed. Just being able to inspect isn’t enough to constitute control, especially given that the landlord exercised that right only a few times a year and, more significantly, didn’t do so during the period leading up to the accident.
- Ho-Sue v. Triple Net Invs., XXII L.P.: 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22911, 2021 WL 427079