Tenant Claims NYCHA Had Duty to Insulate Pipes

LVT Number: #24469

Tenant sued landlord after her child's leg was severely burned when it touched an excessively hot and unprotected heating pipe in the apartment kitchen. NYCHA claimed that it had no legal duty to insulate the heating pipe and asked the court to dismiss the case without a trial. The court ruled against NYCHA. NYC Administrative Code Section 27-809 required all steam or water pipes moving fluids at temperatures above 165 degrees Fahrenheit be insulated. NYCHA didn't dispute that the pipes in tenant's kitchen could reach 180 degrees. But NYCHA claimed that, since the building was built in 1961, more than seven years before the code provision went into effect, it was exempt from this requirement. But if, during any 12-month period, the cost of a building alteration was more than 60 percent of the building's overall value, the entire building must be made code-compliant. If the cost of alterations during such time period was between 30 and 60 percent of the overall building value, those portions of the building that were altered must be made code-compliant. Questions remained as to whether any qualifying alterations took place before the child was injured, which would have required NYCHA to insulate the pipes in tenant's apartment. So a trial was needed to determine the facts.

Trader v. NYCHA: 37 Misc.3d 1220(A), 2012 NY Slip Op 52096(U) (Sup. Ct. Kings; 11/13/12; Rivera, J)