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Majestic Realty Associates, Inc. v. Toti Contracting Co.

Supreme Court of New Jersey
153 A.2d 321 (1959)


Facts

Majestic Realty Associates, Inc. (Majestic) (plaintiff) and Bohen’s Inc. (Bohen’s) (plaintiff) sued Toti Contracting Co. (Toti) (defendant) and the Parking Authority of the City of Paterson, NJ (Authority) (defendant) for damages caused to a building owned by Majestic. The Authority contracted with Toti to demolish a number of structures on the street where Majestic’s building was located. A Toti employee acted negligently in the demolition of the structure adjacent to Majestic’s building, which resulted in severe damage to Majestic’s property. At trial, expert witnesses attested to the fact that building demolition is very hazardous work, and that Toti’s failure to follow safe and proper procedures caused the accident that damaged Majestic’s building. The trial court acknowledged that the demolition work was hazardous by nature, but did not constitute a “nuisance per se.” Hence, the trial court ruled that since the Authority did not have control over the demolition performed by Toti, an independent contractor, the Authority could not be held liable for Toti’s negligence. The Appellate Division reversed and found that the Authority was liable for the damage caused by Toti.

Rule of Law

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Holding and Reasoning (Francis, J)

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