In one of three matters decided with split votes from the presiding Justices, the Appellate Division, Third Department reversed a lower court decision and granted summary judgment dismissing a lawsuit against Gallo & lacavengelo, LLP’s client, Donna Jakob. In the case, Tagle v. Jakob and New York State Electric & Gas, a 16-year old boy was injured when he contacted live electric wires while climbing a tree on Ms. Jakob’s property. The court found that the boy was injured within an easement exclusively owned and controlled by NYSEG, so that Ms. Jakob was relieved of any duty to remedy the danger posed by the wires running through her tree as well as any duty to warn.
The case was covered by the New York Law Journal. Trial attorney, Joe Rizzo, stated that the case marked a major victory for property owners, and placed responsibility squarely upon the shoulders of the utility company which was uniquely situated to assess the realtive dangers of the wires running through the tree. The case is now pending appeal before the New York State Court of Appeals.