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Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

by Agati, Taryn


AC43260 - Pollard v. Bridgeport (" 'An abutting landowner is ordinarily under no duty to keep the sidewalk in front of his [or her] property in a reasonably safe condition for public travel. Tenney v. Pleasant Realty Corp., 136 Conn. 325, 329, 70 A.2d 138 (1949). An abutting landowner can be held liable, however, in negligence or public nuisance for injuries resulting from the unsafe condition of a public sidewalk caused by the landowner's positive acts. See Gambardella v. Kaoud, 38 Conn. App. 355, 359, 660 A.2d 877 (1995).' Abramczyk v. Abbey, 64 Conn. App. 442, 446, 780 A.2d 957, cert. denied, 258 Conn. 933, 785 A.2d 229 (2001). In the present case, we conclude, as a matter of law, that the abutting landowner is not liable for the injuries sustained by a traveler on a public sidewalk who trips and falls over a defect in the sidewalk caused by the roots of a tree growing on the landowner's property, as the growth of tree roots is not a positive or affirmative act of the landowner.

In this trip and fall personal injury action, the plaintiff, LaJeune Pollard, appeals from the summary judgment rendered in favor of the defendant Seaside Village Homes, Inc. (Seaside). On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly granted summary judgment because genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether Seaside is liable for her injuries (1) due to its negligence or (2) for maintaining a nuisance that caused the defect in the sidewalk. On the basis of our review of the record, we conclude that there is no genuine issue of material fact that Seaside undertook no positive or affirmative act that caused the defect in the sidewalk where the plaintiff alleged that she fell. We, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")