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New York City residents have the right to expect reasonable care be exhibited by those who own and businesses, public spaces, and other premises. Whether you are going into your rented apartment building, traveling down the sidewalk, or browsing a store while shopping, you expect the locations to be safe, free of hazards, and not a threat to your health or well-being. Unfortunately, lapses occur on a frequent basis and injuries often result. 

Unsafe NY Living Spaces

The legal details surrounding these "premise liability" cases are quite complex. In certain cases, a situation may even spur class-action lawsuits involving the rights of thousands of New Yorkers. For example, consider a recent case against the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).

In mid-December a settlement agreement was reached in response to a recent class action suit filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Center for Law and Economic Justice on behalf of low-income residents living in dilapidated public housing in the city. Tenants, largely children and the elderly, living in mold and pest-infested public housing provided by the NYCHA have been experiencing an increase in respiratory problems related to mold and mildew growth resulting from leaks and excessive moisture.

The settlement requires that the NYCHA must respond to mold complaints within 15 days, with a federal court to oversee the functioning of the NYCHA for the next three years. Most importantly, NYCHA acknowledged its legal obligation to provide tenants with asthma who now qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with well-maintained and managed apartments.

A Known Risk

Recent studies have shown that the presence of mold, mildew, and moisture closely correlate to the number of cases of asthma, allergies, and related respiratory complications for residents living in such conditions. Excessive moisture also increases rodent and vermin infestations whose allergens may exacerbate asthmatic problems.

Another study discovered a strong correlation between poverty and asthma, revealing a link between asthma and other respiratory-related problems and the condition of the home. In a 2011 U.S. Census Bureau report, it was shown that New York public housing had almost four times as many pest and roach infestations and almost three times as many water leaks as apartments who were rented privately.

In the most recent class action filed against the NYCHA, residents complained that the NYCHA was behind on its repairs of many of these low-income apartments, and their lack of action has led to significant health problems among its residents- many of these problems resulting in hospitalizations.

The link between poverty and asthma was discussed by a recent report which showed that between two neighborhoods in New York, the Upper East Side and Harlem (neighborhoods adjacent to each other, but economically divergent) only 7% of children between the ages of 4-to-5 living on the affluent Upper East Side suffered from asthma, whereas poorer Harlem's 4-to-5 year old demographic suffered at a rate of 19%. The NYCHA's attempts to ameliorate residents' growing concerns about the growth of mold and mildew and an increase in pest infestations within housing tended to be superficial, ineffective, and cosmetic; mold-covered walls were painted over and/or bleached, only for the mold and mildew to return in a matter of months.

NYC Premise Liability Lawyers

This sad case is a reminder that anyone, from a private business owner to a public agency, can cut corners, act unreasonably, and otherwise cause harm to those who rely on them. If you were injured in any way on property owned by someone else, consider reaching out to a legal professional to learn about your rights. The attorneys at Keogh Crispi, P.C. are proud to serve residents throughout New York City who were harmed by property owners who failed to follow reasonable safety protocols. Feel free to give us a call at 212-818-0600 or send us a message online to see how we can help with your premises liability case.

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Keogh Crispi

521 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1740
New York, NY 10175

Phone: 212-518-2417
Fax: 212-818-0180
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