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PREMISES LIABILITY: Appellate Court finds that property owner had no duty maintain sidewalk free of wildly growing grass

PREMISES LIABILITY: Appellate Court Finds That Property Owner Had No Duty Maintain Sidewalk Free Of Wildly Growing Grass

The plaintiff slipped and fell on a sidewalk that was cracked and broken with grass growing through the cracks which hid the condition.  The sidewalk was adjacent to the defendant’s property.  The plaintiff sued alleging that the defendant was negligent in not maintaining the sidewalk free of the grass that obscured the condition of the sidewalk.

The defendant moved for summary judgment, asserting that it is an established rule in Connecticut that an abutting landowner is not liable for “the unsafe condition of an adjacent public sidewalk unless the unsafe condition is actually caused by the abutting landowner.”  The trial court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment and the plaintiff appealed.

The Appellate Court affirmed, stating that it was undisputed that the plaintiff’s fall was caused by the crack in the sidewalk, but that the plaintiff failed to allege that the defendant caused the unsafe condition by a positive act.  “Grass grows by itself.”

McFarline v. Mickens, 177 Conn. App. 83 (2017)