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Jan 22, 2019 - About the Firm by

(January 22, 2019)  MSZLM attorneys Richard Chesney, Jr.  and Steven Cherry obtained Summary Judgment for our retail client in Monroe County, Pennsylvania in a premises liability case regarding duty of a tenant to maintain common areas and transitory defects.

In this case, Plaintiff, walking with the use of a wheel assisted walker, had been shopping at the store and exited through the front entrance.  Upon entering the common area, she slipped and fell when her walker wheel become lodged in a “dip in the sidewalk” littered with gravel.  As a result, Plaintiff hit her face on the sidewalk, sustaining serious injuries to her nose, back head neck, and face.  She also sustained multiple nasal fractures, septal fractures, facial scarring, and a closed head injury.

After the close of discovery, we moved for Summary Judgment arguing that there was no material issue of genuine fact against our client.  The Court found in favor of the client, finding it had no duty to Plaintiff as the facts clearly stated that she fell on the sidewalk outside the store, an area that the lease agreement stated was governed by the co-Defendant landlord.  The Court did not accept the Co-defendant’s argument that “the store front area” included the sidewalk, a proposition that was at odds with all other provisions of the lease.  The Court likewise found for our client on the issue of vicarious liability with regards to the possibility of the placement of gravel that Plaintiff slipped on.  The Court stated that there was no evidence at all presented that our client had in any way acted negligently or was in any way responsible for the gravel and, as such, granted the Motion for Summary Judgment.

The Court, in the same order, granted partial summary judgment to the co-Defendant landlord, on the issue of the transitory defect with regards to the gravel, but denied summary judgment with regards to the sidewalk default.