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NJ Supreme Court Says “Public Sidewalk” Owned by A Private Condo Association Not Immune From Liability

On August 12, 2015, the NJ Supreme Court decided Qian v. Toll Brothers Inc. (A-95-13) holding that the rule of Luchejko v. City of Hoboken, 207 N.J. 191 (2011), which immunized condominium associations from liability arising out of injury on a public sidewalk, is inapplicable to a private sidewalk owned by a condominium association.

Plaintiff and her husband are residents of the Villas at Cranbury Brook, a common-interest community, in the Township of Plainsboro. Those who purchase the Villas take title only to their dwelling units. All other areas including the sidewalks and walkways, are common area property owned by the homeowners association and the recreation association. Homeowners are charged monthly maintenance fees for such services as snow and ice removal from the sidewalks. Although the Villas is not a gated community, the general public does not have an easement to use the sidewalks; i.e., the sidewalk is a “private property.” Under the Villas’ group certificate of incorporation and by-laws, the homeowners association is responsible for maintenance of the sidewalk and other common areas. READ MORE

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