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Consommation. Les huit mauvaises “bonnes idées” pour mieux supporter les fortes chaleurs

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A la veille d’un nouvel épisode caniculaire, voilà quelques idées reçues sur ce qu’on croit être les bons gestes à effectuer pour supporter de grosses chaleurs.

1/ Je n’ai pas faim, je ne mange pas

Au contraire ! Les aliments sont de bons alliés pour éviter la déshydratation surtout les fruits et légumes riches en eau : concombre, salade, radis, haricot mungo germé, courgette, fenouil, tomate, chou-fleur, poivron, melon, pastèque, fraise… Mais aussi les sorbets, les laitages comme les yaourts et le fromage blanc, rappelle l’Anses. On évite de manger trop gras : ce genre de repas va nous fatiguer car il demande à notre organisme davantage d’énergie pour être digéré.

2/ Je me rafraîchis en buvant glacé

Au contact d’un liquide glacé, le corps va fabriquer de la chaleur pour en faire remonter la température. En outre, en buvant trop froid, notre organisme, recevant de fausses informations de la part de nos capteurs thermiques, va freiner voire stopper la transpiration, nécessaire pour éliminer la chaleur stockée.

3/ Je mets la climatisation à fond

Utilisez une climatisation, oui, mais attention à ne pas la régler trop froide… Idéalement, ne dépassez pas 5 degrés d’écart avec la température extérieure. En cas de très fortes chaleurs, il est toutefois possible de dépasser, mais pas plus de 8 à 10 degrés de différence avec l’extérieur pour ne pas provoquer un écart trop important (et tomber malade !). Par ailleurs, il est important qu’elle soit bien entretenue (filtres, etc.).

4/ Je fais comme les Touaregs et leur thé brûlant dans le désert

Ce n’est pas forcément une bonne idée… Si on boit trop chaud, le corps, réglé à 37°C, va transpirer trop et donc entraîner une déshydratation pour éliminer la chaleur stockée. De surcroît, la caféine contenue dans des boissons comme le thé ou le café a un effet diurétique. Dans l’idéal, il faut consommer des boissons entre 12 et 14°C.

5/ Je dors avec un ventilateur orienté vers mon visage

Mauvaise idée, car cela va dessécher les sinus, la gorge, les yeux. Vous risquez de vous réveiller avec le nez bouché et des maux de tête. Mieux vaut l’orienter autrement, le reculer et mettre un récipient d’eau devant pour humidifier l’air : la peau s’assèche moins vite et le risque de déshydratation est moindre. D’une manière générale, mouillez-vous le corps plusieurs fois par jour à l’aide d’un brumisateur, d’un gant de toilette ou en prenant des douches… Mais pas non plus glacées !

6/ Je bois au moins trois litres d’eau par jour

Tout se consomme avec modération, même l’eau. En général, 1,5 à 2 litres par jour suffisent. En consommer plus que nécessaire, c’est forcer le corps à se débarrasser des excès, soit en transpirant plus, soit en faisant davantage fonctionner les reins et la vessie : on le fatigue. Si l’on en absorbe plus de 5 litres en une seule journée sans faire le moindre effort physique, on peut être également victime d’hyponatrémie, c’est-à-dire un déficit de sodium. Une réaction en chaîne peut potentiellement conduire à un gonflement des cellules, y compris celles du cerveau et donc, la mort.

7/ Je m’hydrate avec de la bière fraîche ou des “piscines” de vin

L’alcool, au contraire, déshydrate, notamment en faisant uriner davantage. C’est d’ailleurs cette déshydratation qui provoque la “gueule de bois” qu’on ressent au lendemain d’un excès. La bière fraîche ou le verre de vin en terrasse, c’est donc avec modération… Et il n’y a pas que l’alcool : la caféine contenue dans des boissons comme le thé ou le café, ainsi que les aliments trop gras ou à base de sucre sont à limiter car ils ont un effet diurétique.

8/ J’attends d’avoir soif pour boire

Vous ressentez la sensation de soif ? C’est votre organisme qui vous dit qu’il est déshydraté. Il ne faut pas attendre ce signal pour boire ! De surcroît, pour le bon fonctionnement de l’organisme, il vaut mieux boire régulièrement que d’un seul coup : un taux d’hydratation régulier est préférable à une alternance de phases de déshydratation et de réhydratation. Il faut donc non seulement boire sans attendre la soif, mais aussi savoir que la soif n’est pas le seul symptôme d’une déshydratation : les céphalées, vertiges, ou sensations de fatigue sont autant de signes que le corps met en place pour vous alerter.

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Société

Top Shipping Flag Cuts Approval for Sanctioned Russian Insurer

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The world’s largest shipping register withdrew its approval for Russia’s Ingosstrakh Insurance Co. to provide a key document enabling ships to enter ports.

The Liberian Register — under whose flag 16% of the world’s ships by capacity sail — said in a circular that it no longer authorizes Moscow-based Ingosstrakh Insurance Co. to issue so-called blue cards. Blue cards provide proof of cover against risks including oil spills and collisions. They are essential for port entry.

Last week, the UK sanctioned Ingosstrakh as part of a set of wide-ranging Group of Seven measures designed to target Russia as it continues its war in Ukraine. The firm has become an important provider of cover against spills and collisions for Russian oil exports, effectively displacing western entities.

UK Puts First Sanctions on Russia’s Shadow-Fleet Oil Tankers

In practice, the Liberia’s move may well prove symbolic. There are only three vessels covered by Ingosstrakh that sail under the flag of Liberia and none of them are oil tankers, according to a vessel database maintained for the International Maritime Organization. However, the move reinforces a growing divide between the parts of the global shipping fleet that are able to serve Russia and those that can’t.

Any ship with Ingosstrakh cover will receive a 90-day grace period, the circular said.

Despite its name, the Liberian register is headquartered in the US. National shipping registries are a common feature of the international shipping industry, applying common sets of rules that vessels must stick to in order to fly a nation’s flag.

Photograph: Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 sits anchored off the Strait of Gibraltar July 20, 2019. Photo credit: Marcelo del Pozo/Bloomberg

Copyright 2024 Bloomberg.

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Remontada des memecoins face à la baisse du marché crypto

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8h00 ▪
3
min de lecture ▪ par
Fenelon L.

Alors que le marché crypto connaît un ralentissement généralisé, certains memecoins de l’écosystème The Open Network (TON) enregistrent des gains surprenants au cours des dernières 24 heures, défiant ainsi la tendance baissière.

Les memecoins montent sur le marche crypto

Une tendance haussière inattendue sur TON malgré la baisse globale du marché 

Selon les données de CoinGecko, plateforme de référence pour le suivi des prix des crypto, certains memecoins de l’écosystème TON ont connu une envolée surprenante au cours des dernières 24 heures. Resistance Dog (REDO) a bondi de 32%, The Resistance Cat (RECA) de 49% tandis que Ton Inu (TINU) progressait de 9,5%.

Cette dynamique haussière contraste avec la tendance baissière qui prévaut sur le marché crypto dans sa globalité. Là où la capitalisation totale de marché n’a reculé que de 0,1% à 2,54 milliards de dollars, une performance relativement résistante, les deux mastodontes Bitcoin et Ethereum ont pour leur part cédé environ 0,2% chacun.

L’indice GMCI Meme de The Block, qui suit les principaux memecoins par capitalisation boursière, a même dévissé de 2,88%. Ces statistiques illustrent la trajectoire singulière, voire contre-intuitive, des memecoins ancrés sur l’écosystème TON face au vent de panique soufflant actuellement sur le marché crypto.

TON, un écosystème crypto atypique et prometteur 

Issues des équipes à l’origine de la populaire application de messagerie Telegram, la plateforme TON intègre des fonctionnalités blockchain et crypto particulièrement innovantes. Bien que son jeton natif Toncoin ait reculé de 0,4% à 7,78 dollars, les memecoins ancrés sur son écosystème semblent tirer leur épingle du jeu dans ce contexte de marché agité.

Cependant, ces récentes fluctuations n’empêchent pas les analystes de Bitfinex de sonner l’alarme sur les risques d’un « hiver crypto » prolongé. Ils citent notamment les pressions réglementaires croissantes comme principale menace planant sur l’ensemble du secteur crypto.

Si elle se confirme, la dynamique haussière inattendue des memecoins TON pourrait représenter un rare motif d’optimisme dans un marché miné par l’incertitude ambiante.

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Fenelon L. avatar

Fenelon L.

Passionné par le Bitcoin, j’aime explorer les méandres de la blockchain et des cryptos et je partage mes découvertes avec la communauté. Mon rêve est de vivre dans un monde où la vie privée et la liberté financière sont garanties pour tous, et je crois fermement que Bitcoin est l’outil qui peut rendre cela possible.

DISCLAIMER

Les propos et opinions exprimés dans cet article n’engagent que leur auteur, et ne doivent pas être considérés comme des conseils en investissement. Effectuez vos propres recherches avant toute décision d’investissement.

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Supreme Court to Hear Nvidia Bid to Scuttle Shareholder Lawsuit

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The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Monday to hear a bid by Nvidia to scuttle a securities fraud lawsuit accusing the artificial intelligence chipmaker of misleading investors about how much of its sales went to the volatile cryptocurrency industry.

The justices took up Nvidia’s appeal made after a lower court revived a proposed class action brought by shareholders in California against the company and its CEO Jensen Huang. The suit, led by the Stockholm, Sweden-based investment management firm E. Ohman J:or Fonder AB, seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Santa Clara, California-based Nvidia is a high-flying company that has become one of the biggest beneficiaries of the AI boom, and its market value has surged.

Related: US Regulators to Open Antitrust Inquiries of Microsoft, OpenAI and Nvidia

In 2018, Nvidia’s chips became popular for cryptomining, a process that involves performing complex math equations in order to secure cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

The plaintiffs in a 2018 lawsuit accused Nvidia and top company officials of violating a U.S. law called the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by making statements in 2017 and 2018 that falsely downplayed how much of Nvidia’s revenue growth came from crypto-related purchases.

Those omissions misled investors and analysts who were interested in understanding the impact of cryptomining on Nvidia’s business, the plaintiffs said.

U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr. dismissed the lawsuit in 2021 but the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2-1 ruling subsequently revived it. The 9th Circuit found that the plaintiffs had adequately alleged that Huang made “false or misleading statements and did so knowingly or recklessly,” allowing their case to proceed.

Nvidia urged the justices to take up its appeal, arguing that the 9th Circuit’s ruling would open the door to “abusive and speculative litigation.”

Nvidia in 2022 agreed to pay $5.5 million to U.S. authorities to settle charges that it did not properly disclose the impact of cryptomining on its gaming business.

The justices agreed on June 10 to hear a similar bid by Meta’s Facebook to dismiss a private securities fraud lawsuit accusing the social media platform of misleading investors in 2017 and 2018 about the misuse of its user data by the company and third parties. Facebook appealed after a lower court allowed a shareholder lawsuit led by Amalgamated Bank to proceed.

The Supreme Court will hear the Nvidia and Facebook cases in its next term, which begins in October.

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City in Upstate New York Restoring Systems Disrupted by Cyber Incident

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The city of Newburgh in New York’s Orange County is today reopening its City Hall while continuing to work on restoring municipal services following identification of a cyber incident last Monday.

The network security incident led to a temporary disruption of some city functions, including the ability to process payments for property taxes, water, sewer, sanitation, permit fees, and parking tickets.

The city has engaged outside information technology experts and other professionals who are continuing to work towards full restoration of operations.

According to officials for the city, which has a population of about 29,000, its police, fire, water, sewer, sanitation, engineering and recreation departments have continued with only minor disruptions and 911 services have remained fully functional.

The schedule calls for city phone and email services to be restored beginning today with systems for processing payments being phased back in over the next seven-to-10 days. The city said there will be a grace period for late payments due to the downtime.

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New York

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Strong Winds Driving Southern California Wildfire

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Strong winds drove a wildfire that forced the evacuation of more than 1,000 visitors to a recreation area and threatened nearby properties over the weekend.

Flames burned through dry brush along Interstate 5 north of Los Angeles on Sunday, and officials issued warning residents in the wildfire’s path to be prepared to possibly evacuate if the fire continues to grow.

The Post fire grew to 14,625 acres and was just 8% contained, according to CalFire.

High temperatures and lower humidity are forecasted for today, with wind gusts possible up to 20 MPH and stronger winds on the ridge tops potentially reaching 50 MPH.

“Crews are working to establish perimeter fire lines around the fire’s edges,” a CalFire update states. “Aircraft are being utilized to halt the fire’s forward progress but are facing challenges due to limited visibility. The California State Park Services have evacuated 1,200 people from Hungry Valley Park, and Pyramid Lake is closed due to the threat from the Post Fire.”

An evacuation warning has been issued for areas south of Pyramid Lake between Old Ridge Route and the LA County line, including Paradise Ranch Estates.

The cause of the fire, which started on Saturday, is under investigation. There are 1,148 firefighting personnel assigned to fight the blaze.

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US Lawmakers Grill Microsoft President Over China Ties, Hacks

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Microsoft President Brad Smith fielded questions about the tech giant’s security practices and ties to China at a House homeland security panel on Thursday, a year after alleged China-linked hackers spied on federal emails by hacking the firm.

The hackers accessed 60,000 U.S. State Department emails by breaking into Microsoft’s systems last summer, while Russia-linked cybercriminals separately spied on Microsoft’s senior staff emails this year, according to the company’s disclosures.

The congressional hearing comes amid increasing federal scrutiny over Microsoft, the world’s biggest software-maker, which is also a key vendor to the U.S. government and national security establishment. Microsoft’s business accounts for around 3% of the U.S. federal IT budget, Smith said at the hearing.

Lawmakers grilled Microsoft for its inability to prevent both the Russian and Chinese hacks, which they said put federal networks at risk despite not using sophisticated means.

The company emails Russian hackers accessed also “included correspondence with government officials,” Democrat Bennie Thompson said.

“Microsoft is one of the federal government’s most important technology and security partners, but we cannot afford to allow the importance of that relationship to enable complacency or interfere with our oversight,” he added.

Lawmakers drew on the findings of a scathing report in April by the Cyber Safety Review Board (CSRB) – a group of experts formed by U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas – which slammed Microsoft for its lack of transparency over the China hack, calling it preventable.

“We accept responsibility for each and every finding in the CSRB report,” Smith said at the hearing, adding that Microsoft had begun acting on a majority of the report’s recommendations.

“We’re dealing with formidable foes in China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and they’re getting better,” said Smith. “They’re getting more aggressive … They’re waging attacks at an extraordinary rate.”

Thompson criticized Smith’s company for failing to detect the hack, which was discovered instead by the U.S. State Department. Smith responded saying: “That’s the way it should work. No one entity in the ecosystem can see everything.”

But Congressman Thompson was not convinced.

“It’s not our job to find the culprits. That’s what we’re paying you for,” Thompson said.

Panel members also probed Smith for details on Microsoft’s business in China, noting that it had invested heavily in setting up research incentives there.

“Microsoft’s presence in China creates a mix of complex challenges and risks,” said Congressman Mark Green from Mississippi, who chaired the panel.

Microsoft earns around 1.5% of its revenue from China and is working to reduce its engineering presence there, said Smith.

The company has faced heightened criticism from its security industry peers over the past year over the breaches and lack of transparency.

Smith’s responses at the hearing earned praise from some on the panel, such as Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. “You said you accept a responsibility, and I just want to commend you for that,” Greene told him.

Following the board’s criticisms, Microsoft had said it was working on improving its processes and enforcing security benchmarks. In November it launched a new cybersecurity initiative and said it was making security the company’s top priority “above all else – over all other features.”

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Florida Insurance Agents Will Soon Need to Be Appointed With 3 Carriers Before They Can Sell Citizens’ Policies

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Starting July 1, Florida insurance agents must have at least three appointments with authorized carriers before they can sell policies for the state-created Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

That’s the mandate laid down by Florida House Bill 1503, signed into law in May by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“Upon the law becoming effective, Citizens will require each agent writing business with Citizens to hold at least three appointments with authorized insurers for each line of business,” reads a bulletin posted by Citizens.

Previous law required agents to have only one appointment, or authorization agreement from a carrier.

“Agents who are unable to, or choose not to obtain the required appointments will lose the ability to write, service, or renew business in that line of authority,” the bulletin notes.

Citizens will notify agents if they are in violation. At that point, agents will have to obtain appointments with other carriers or transfer their book of business to an eligible agent, Citizens said.

The law, which also allows surplus lines insurers to take out Citizens policies on secondary homes, is part of a continuing effort by lawmakers and regulators to trim the girth of Citizens and steer more business back to the private market–without removing the statutory cap on Citizens’ rate increases. Citizens, by far the largest property insurer in Florida, reported 1.18 million policies in force at the end of April.

The new requirement could be painful for some agents who have relied on Citizens and its often-lower premiums to cover properties in the stressed Florida market.

“I would think it would be new agents that would be most affected – those that are trying to start their business and don’t have many appointments,” said Clayton Fischer, an agent with Blue Marlin Insurance, an agency in Miami that holds appointments with more than 15 carriers.

The logic behind the law is not disputed.

“It’s not a bad thing for consumers,” said Karen Roeling, a commercial lines producer with Seibert Insurance Agency in Tampa. “It gives more options.”

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Denmark Seeks to Limit Shadow Tanker Fleet Carrying Russian Oil

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Denmark is considering ways to limit a so-called shadow fleet of tankers from carrying Russian oil through the Baltic Sea, the Nordic country’s foreign minister said on Monday, in a move that could heighten tensions with Moscow.

Russia sends about a third of its seaborne oil exports, or 1.5% of global supply, through the Danish straits that sit as a gateway to the Baltic Sea, so any attempt to halt supplies could send oil prices higher and hit the Kremlin’s finances.

Since Western nations imposed a price cap on Russia’s oil in an attempt to curb vital funds for its war in Ukraine, Russia has relied on a fleet of often aging tankers based and insured outside the West.

Russia’s Ingosstrakh Weighs Legal Action After UK Sanctions

Denmark has brought together a group of allied countries evaluating measures targeting this shadow fleet, Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen told Reuters in an emailed statement.

He did not say what measures were being considered.

“There is broad consensus that the shadow fleet is an international problem and that international solutions are required,” Lokke Rasmussen said.

“It’s important that any new measures can be implemented in practice and that they are legally sound with regards to international law,” he added.

Countries involved in the talks included other Baltic Sea states and European Union members, the minister said.

Denmark is concerned that old tankers transporting oil through its straits represent a potential danger to the environment.

Russia’s embassy in Denmark did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The news was reported by Danish daily Information and online media Danwatch.

(Reporting by Louise Rasmussen; editing by Terje Solsvik and Mark Potter)

Photograph: An oil tanker is moored at the Sheskharis complex, part of Chernomortransneft JSC, a subsidiary of Transneft PJSC, in Novorossiysk, Russia, on Oct. 11, 2022. (AP Photo, File)

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Florida Appeals Court Says Detroit Tigers Owe Little to Injured Pitcher

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If the Detroit Tigers Major League Baseball team needs money to rebuild its roster next year, a Florida appeals court just saved the team more than $14,000 in workers’ compensation payments to an injured minor league pitcher.

Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeals struck out a compensation judge’s decision to award lefty pitcher Austin Sodders indemnity benefits of $349 per week, more than twice as much as Sedgwick Claims Management had argued for. The court said that the comp judge, Robert Arthur, had abused his discretion by skirting statutory requirements and rejecting the terms of the player’s contract.

“The JCC (judge of compensation claims) does not have discretion to reject the contract’s plain language, even where he finds it too ‘stringent,’” the 1st DCA wrote last week. “Nor does the law permit the JCC to supplement the contract’s explicit terms with his own more flexible terms.”

The decision highlights how tricky it can be to calculate the average weekly wage for some part-time or seasonal workers, particularly ballplayers. Florida law has four different subsections that speak to the methods by which wages should be calculated. Sodders had elected not to pursue a seasonal-worker allowance in the law, and two other sections did not apply; that means that the contract and Sodders’ actual, full-time weekly wages should govern, the court said.

“Under section 440.14(1)(d), the claimants’ full-time weekly wages are ‘determined prospectively by using either the contract of employment or the actual earnings on the job where Claimant was working at the time of the injury,’” District Court Judge Robert Long Jr. wrote in the court’s June 12 opinion.

The 6-foot, 4-inch Sodders, out of Riverside, California, was playing for the Detroit Tigers’ Class-A Minor League team in Lakeland, Florida, in 2018, when he injured his throwing shoulder. Until then, he had posted a respectable earned-run average of 2.72, according to Minor League statistics on milb.com. The Athletic publication called him a top minor league prospect in 2018.

Not long after his injury, though, the Tigers released him. Sodders filed a workers’ compensation claim for temporary total disability. The team paid 70 weeks of benefits at $144 per week, for a total of $10,170. In 2022, Sodders hired well-known claimants’ lawyer Michael Winer, of Tampa, who filed a petition arguing that the team had miscalculated the benefits, and the player’s weekly wage amount should be more than doubled, with benefits totaling at least $24,360.

Both sides agreed that the player had been paid $1,500 a month in salary, per a standard, five-month Minor League contract. Sodders and Winer argued that the wage and comp benefits should be based on a full year of pay at the rate of $1,500 per month, producing an average weekly wage of $349.

Sedgwick countered that the player’s five-month total should be spread over a year to determine a fair weekly pay: $1,500 per month multiplied by five months and divided by 52 weeks equals $144.

Florida compensation judges in at least two previous baseball cases, for a Chicago White Sox player in 1996 and a Houston Astros player in 2012, had followed that same reasoning, Sedgwick attorney Michelle Langlois noted in her response to Sodder’s request for an adjustment to his benefits. Otherwise, it would be produce a windfall for the injured worker.

“The methodology suggested by claimant in his petition for benefits results in annual temporary partial disability benefits that far exceed his total annual earnings,” Langlois wrote.

The comp judge, Arthur, wrote that his reading of Sodders’ contract was that it was not, in fact, for a five-month period and that it required the player to be available for year-round events, including winter-league baseball. The player’s wage calculation should also include his potential earnings from an off-season job, along with a signing bonus.

“The wages which the claimant was prevented from earning during that period were not his wages as a baseball player, as his contract had been terminated on August 7, 2019, but were wages that could have been earned on the open labor market,” Judge Arthur said.

The claimant “should not be restricted by the stringent terms of the minor league baseball contract under which he played, which limited the payments of salary to the championship season, despite its control over the claimant’s activities for the entire year,” the comp judge noted.

The fairest and most reasonable way to calculate the average weekly wage is to simply divide the monthly salary by 4.3 (weeks in a month) for a base wage of $349, the judge said. Otherwise, the employer gains a windfall. He also awarded attorney fees to Winer.

But the appellate judges disagreed, noting that the statute requires the wage to be based on the contract, which appears to limit pay to the playing season, or “actual earnings” in the job in which he was working at the time of the injury. The contract did obligate the pitcher to some year-round commitments, but it also allowed him to seek employment during the offseason.

“Had Sodders earned income from other sources during the off-season, he could have included those amounts here. However, he had not earned other income through any off-season employment, and he did not elect calculation under this subdivision,” the DCA opinion reads.

The appeals court acknowledged that judges of compensation claims have broad discretion in determining a fair weekly wage amount. “But that discretion is not unfettered,” the court noted.

When interpreting contracts to determine the parties’ rights and responsibilities, the comp judge “cannot reform contracts or effect a remedy not provided’ by state law, the appellate judges said.

The DCA remanded the case to the comp judge to reset Sodders’ benefits based on the lower average weekly wage.

Sodders is now director of client solutions at a brand management and marketing firm for utility companies, based in Texas, according to his Linkedin page.

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Florida

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Société

Vacant Commercial Property Owners Face Sidewalk Liability: New Jersey Supreme Court

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The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that all commercial landowners — including owners of vacant commercial lots — have a duty to maintain the public sidewalks abutting their property in reasonably good condition and are liable to pedestrians injured as a result of their negligent failure to do so.

The high court created a new rule that it explained is guided by the principle of fairness and that no longer treats vacant properties differently than those with structures or active businesses.

“There is something profoundly unfair about commercial property owners purchasing vacant lots and having no responsibility whatsoever for maintaining the area where the general public traverses,” the court commented in a 4-3 opinion penned by Justice Fabiana Pierre-Louis.

The majority relied upon a principle expressed in a 1993 ruling: “Whether a person owes a duty of reasonable care toward another turns on whether the imposition of such a duty satisfies an abiding sense of basic fairness under all of the circumstances in light of considerations of public policy.” (Hopkins v. Fox & Lazo Realtors).

In the high court’s view, this guiding principle means that “it matters not that there is no structure or active business being conducted on a commercial property.”

The court said that purchasing a vacant commercial lot is a business decision that embraces the costs and burdens of conducting business and one of those costs includes maintaining the abutting sidewalks so that they are in a reasonably safe condition for innocent passersby.

With its ruling, the high court reversed and remanded back to the appellate court a negligence suit brought against the owners of a vacant property in Camden by a woman who claims she fell on the sidewalk and sustained injuries that required surgery.

The owners of the property purchased it 27 years before plaintiff’s fall in 1992, and later bought an adjacent lot, intending to construct a building, but never did. According to the owners, they never built a structure because “the economic situations were really bad.” One defendant further testified that he did not purchase liability insurance to cover the lot because insurance companies “didn’t really want to insure it.”

The high court cited the history of sidewalk liability law in New Jersey courts, which has evolved from imposing no liability on commercial landowners for maintenance of sidewalks to imposing a duty on commercial but not residential landowners but only if there is a structure or active business on the site. The courts recognized that this imposed an expense on commercial property owners, but that liability insurance would become available, the cost of which owners would absorb as a necessary expense of doing business.

Appellate courts have since exempted some vacant properties from sidewalk liability, reasoning among other things that they lack a capacity to generate income and the capacity to spread the risk of loss.

The Supreme Court maintained that subsequent cases have led to confusion in the area of commercial sidewalk liability law and uncertainty over whether liability should apply to commercial landowners of vacant lots. The court concluded that it should apply because whether a duty exists is ultimately a question of fairness and not whether there is a structure or active business on a commercial property.

“By its essence, a commercial lot exists and is bought and sold for the purpose of making money. Indeed, when someone purchases a vacant commercial lot, that is a business decision that embraces all the attendant costs and burdens of conducting business. We conclude that one of those costs necessarily includes maintaining the abutting sidewalks so that they are in a reasonably safe condition for innocent passersby,” the court stated.

The court rejected suggestions by the defense counsel that it adopt a case-by-case approach or consider if the property is on an “immediate path to profit” to determine when a commercial landowner owes a duty. The court said those analyses would not be practical as they would be based on “nebulous indicators” and they would not make it clear enough where and when a duty is owed.

The ruling notes that the sidewalk liability distinction between commercial and residential properties should remain but it should no longer treat certain types of commercial properties differently.

The majority opines that the “bright-line rule” that all commercial property owners owe a duty to maintain abutting sidewalks in reasonably good condition will ensure “fairness, consistency, and predictability” in the state’s courts going forward.

The opinion also notes that the court has in the past urged the state Legislature to clarify the law on sidewalk liability but that has not happened.

Topics
Commercial Lines
Business Insurance
New Jersey
Property

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