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PREMISES LIABILITY: Superior Court holds lessee fails to prove that building owner had contractual duty to defend store from premises liability action

The defendant grocery store rented space from the building owner per lease terms that obligated the owner to defend and indemnify the defendant from premises liability actions arising from the use of common areas, including the exterior front store entrance.

The plaintiff allegedly suffered injuries from a fall that occurred at the front entrance of the store building and sued the grocery store, and later amended the complaint to add in the building owner.  The Court granted the owner’s motion for summary judgment, finding that the complaint alleged that the plaintiff fell inside the front entrance.

The defendant store and the building owner cross-complained against each other, claiming indemnification and breach of contract.  The Court ruled in favor of the building owner, on the basis that the evidence indicated that the fall occurred within the store and thus the owner was relieved of its duty to indemnify and defend under the terms of the lease.

Oliver v. SuperValu, Inc., NNH-CV16-6061941-S (12/20/2017)