Sunday, November 24, 2013

Majestic Realty Associates, Inc. v. Toti Contracting Co. case brief

Majestic Realty Associates, Inc. v. Toti Contracting Co. case brief summary
153 A.2d 321 (1959)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiffs, a building owner and a tenant, filed suit against defendants, a parking authority and a demolition contractor (DC), for damage sustained by the owner's building as a result of the demolition of an adjacent building. The trial court dismissed the action against the authority. The Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, reversed the dismissal and remanded for a new trial.

CASE FACTS
The matter was before the state supreme court for a final determination. The trial court dismissed the action against the authority on the grounds that the DC was an independent contractor for whose negligence defendant parking authority could not be held responsible. The jury returned favorable verdicts to plaintiffs on defendant demolition contractor's liability. Plaintiffs appealed the dismissal of the action against the authority.

DISCUSSION

  • The supreme court affirmed the appellate division decision. 
  • The supervisory interest of the authority related to the result accomplished, not to the means by which it was accomplished. 
  • The demolition work was inherently dangerous, thus subjecting the authority to a nondelegable duty to ensure that care was taken in the demolition process, and the question of liability regarding that duty was one for the jury to make.

CONCLUSION
The supreme court affirmed the appellate division's judgment and remanded the case for a new trial on the issue of the parking authority's liability.

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