JAMES SURIANO and LISA SURIANO, Plaintiff v. JAMES J. MALTAIS, LILLIAN MALTIAS, LINDEN HILLS DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, LINDEN HILLS HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, and RIFENBURG CONSTRUCTION, INC., Defendants.
RIFENBURG CONSTRUCTION, INC., Third Party Plaintiff, v. CHAZEN ENGINEERING & LAND SURVEYING CO., P.C. and CHAZEN ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, INC., Third Party Defendants.
In this case, the plaintiffs owned a property located on Spring Avenue in Troy, New York. Co-defendants James J. Maltais, Lillian Maltais and Linden Hills Development Corporation were alleged to have owned property uphill from the plaintiffs, specifically 7, 9 and 11 Tracey Court. Co-defendant Linden Hills Homeowners Association, the homeowners association for the Tracey Court properties, entered into contracts with Rifenburg Construction, Inc. and Chazen Engineering to perform a slope remediation to the subject Tracey Court properties. Rifenburg performed the contracting services and Chazen Engineering provided the plans and specifications for the construction work. The allegation by plaintiff was that the slope remediation caused water to be channeled from Tracey Court directly to the plaintiff’s property downhill, causing property damage to the plaintiffs.
Our office moved for summary judgment on behalf of Rifenburg Construction. It was our contention that Rifenburg had contracted with Linden Hills Homeowners Association and therefore it had no duty to the plaintiffs. Further, it was our contention that Rifenburg was entitled to rely on the plans and specifications of Chazen and having so relied, Rifenburg properly executed the contracting services pursuant to the plans and specifications. In support of our theory, we offered, amongst other materials, the opinion of an engineering expert.
In a written decision by Judge George B. Ceresia, Jr. of Rensselaer County, the Court granted our motion for summary judgment. The Court noted that Rifenburg demonstrated prima facie that it exercised reasonable care in the performance of its work in following the plans approved by Chazen under Chazen’s supervision. Plaintiff failed to demonstrate the existence of a triable issue of fact and therefore summary judgment was granted, dismissing all claims and cross-claims against Rifenburg.