Morlin Asset Mgmt. LP v. MurachanianAnnotate this Case
After plaintiff was injured when he slipped on the stairs in the common area of a commercial building, he filed suit against the building and its managers (the landlords), for negligence and premises liability. The landlords each filed virtually identical cross-complaints against Edward Murachanian (the tenant), a dentist who rents an office suite in the building. The tenant had hired plaintiff’s employer to clean the carpets in his second-floor suite. The trial court granted the tenant’s motion for summary judgment, finding the lease obligated the tenant to indemnify the landlords only against claims for injuries occurring within the tenant’s office suite, not in the common areas. The court held that, under the indemnity clause in this case, the injury to a third party that occurred outside the dental suite, in a common area over which the landlords have exclusive control, did not arise out of the tenant’s use of the dental suite. It does not matter that the accident would not have happened but for the tenant hiring the third party to clean the carpets in the dental suite, and that the third party may have been at fault. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgments and the order awarding attorney fees.