The plaintiff tenant commenced this lawsuit against the defendants, Meriden Eastwood after the plaintiff was allegedly caused to slip and fall on January 21, 2019 in the parking lot and then again on January 25, 2019 on the exterior stairway of the premises due to an accumulation of ice and snow in both locations.
The individual unit owner moves for summary judgment on the grounds that there is no genuine issue of material fact that he was not responsible for the maintenance or management nor was he in possession and/or control of the subject premises where the plaintiff allegedly fell. The court starts by analyzing count two of the complaint against the individual unit owner which alleges premises liability as to the parking lot. The question the court must answer is whether the individual unit owner owed a duty to the plaintiff.
The court states that “liability for injuries caused by defective premises … does not depend on who holds legal title, but rather on who has possession and control of the property.” The court looks to the Meriden Condominium Association’s Declarations which specifically states that individual unit owners, such as defendant, are only responsible for removing snow from “all patios and balconies which are … appurtenant to his unit.” Pursuant to the Declarations, the Condo Association and its agents are responsible for the maintenance of “common areas” such as parking lots.
For these reasons, the court finds that individual unit owner met his burden of showing that no genuine issue of fact exists that he was not in possession and control of the parking lot and is therefore entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The court then analyzes count six of the complaint against the individual unit owner which alleges premises liability as to the stairs. While the Condominium Declaration delegates responsibility for maintenance, repair and replacement of certain limited common elements, which includes exterior stairways, to the Condo Association and its agents, the individual unit owner’s actions in repairing the exterior staircase due to the Association’s inaction in repairing it presents a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the individual unit owner retained possession and control of the exterior stairway at the time of the plaintiff’s fall.
The court finds that the individual unit owner has not established an absence of genuine issue of fact as to possession and control of the exterior stairway. Therefore, the court cannot grant summary judgment as to count six. Rousseau v. Meriden Eastwood Condo. Ass’n., Inc., No. CV-21-6110914-S, 2023 WL 3840435 (Conn. Super. Ct. June 1, 2023).