RTJG won two (2) summary judgment motions in the Gangi v King’s Court et al matter in Bergen County, NJ; one substantive and one for coverage from the co-defendant’s insurer.
The Firm represented Carla Development Corp., owner of a building which housed two gym facilities, one called King’s Court Health Club and the other called Empire Sports and Fitness. King’s gave up its racquetball courts and Empire expanded its lease with Carla to include those courts. Carla removed the walls between the courts, and Empire agreed upon taking possession to turn those courts into a basketball court. It hired defendant Rob’s Maintenance to replace the floorboards where the walls once stood, and paint the courts.
Empire took possession and had the work completed by Rob’s in early February 2021. Carla had no role in the work, approving the plans, etc. The lease placed maintenance and repair responsibility on Empire. The lease also required Empire to indemnify Carla (but NOT for its own negligence), and to insure Carla and have it named as an additional insured.
After the floor work, Empire began renting the space for basketball games. On February 15, 2021, Plaintiff Gangi was part of a group that rented the basketball court. While playing he tore his Achilles tendon. Gangi filed suit, alleging that the condition of the floor caused his injury.
At the close of discovery, Carla moved for summary judgment on substance as a landlord out of possession. Plaintiff disputed the motion, arguing that prior work removing the walls created potential liability. The Judge agreed with Carla’s position, finding Carla had completely turned possession and control over to Empire, who took it as they received it, and Empire’s (Rob’s) work was not attributable to Carla.
On coverage, the Court found coverage under the insured contract provision of the Empire policy with its insurer. Since Carla was now determined NOT to be negligent, the provision was applicable. Carla was awarded judgment and all costs and fees through the time of the motion.
Ricci Tyrrell’s efforts in the Gangi matter were directed by Member Patrick McStravick. Associate Kelly Woy took a lead role and Member Jackie Zoller and associate Kim Collins contributed to the great result for the Firm’s client.