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How a Building Owner Can Be Liable for a Fire Under New York Law


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4/16/2010
Jonathan Cooper
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If you were ever wondering how you can prove that a property owner was negligent and responsible for an event that would, at first blush, appear to be outside their control like a building fire (under New York law, you generally need to prove that the landowner either knew or should have known about the dangerous condition - which in legalese is called "notice," yet failed to remedy it in a timely fashion), you need look no further than the Chinatown fire of this past Sunday night, April 11.

As the New York Times reported, the building had more than 24 violations for hazardous conditions that were still unresolved at the time of the fire; these violations included lead paint, and, more pertinent to this incident - missing smoke detectors.

Unfortunately for those who lived in this building, this was an accident just waiting to happen. And I sincerely hope the owners of this building get their just deserts, which may include criminal sanctions.





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