Owners who fail to safeguard their buildings can be held responsible for damaging nearby properties and businesses. Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo, P.C. (SPBMC) represented an owner whose only building was destroyed due to the negligence of the adjacent property owner and their lack of fire prevention equipment.
While the defendant renovated part of a building in Manhattan, a fire broke out and spread uncontrollably into and throughout our client’s adjacent mixed-use property. The defendant’s building collapsed as a result of the fire and our client’s building was subsequently destroyed, including units occupied by commercial and residential tenants. The damage to both structures was so substantial that the New York City Fire Marshals could not enter the disaster sites to determine the cause of the blaze.
The building owner of the adjacent property, whose damages were caused by no fault of his own, came to us for justice. We commenced an action against the neighboring owner, claiming negligence for failing to maintain a properly operating fire extinguishing system. We also alleged that the renovations were mishandled, especially since appropriate fire-stopping equipment was not available.
The defendant denied responsibility and alleged that because the building was so old, it did not need (or could not accommodate) a fire extinguishing system. The defendant even went so far as to claim that there was nothing that they did – or failed to do – to cause the fire or its spread.
SPBMC has deep experience litigating fire-related claims and access to veteran fire safety and prevention experts whose testimonies have aided our many successes. During litigation, we presented a fire analyst, a professional engineer and a property appraiser to explain to the jury the need for a proper extinguishing system and how its absence likely facilitated this disaster. They all supported our contention that the defendant was responsible for the fire spreading to our client’s building and its resultant destruction.
After several weeks of trial, we secured a $1.75 million settlement for the property destruction the defendant caused. Though the ordeal was devastating for our client – this building was his labor of love – he was ultimately was happy with the outcome, and told us our involvement made him whole again.
Premises liability claims like these are often complex, and plaintiffs and victims need a powerhouse firm capable of standing up to well-financed defense lawyers to protect your rights. SPBMC is committed to helping property owners and owning entities who have suffered property loss or damage due to the negligence of others. If you need to speak with one of our experienced New York premises liability lawyers, we are pleased to offer a free consultation.