According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff stumbled, trip, and fell down stairs onto a sidewalk outside a building, allegedly sustaining injuries. At her deposition, the Plaintiff testified that her foot came into contact with a raised portion of the pavement on the porch at the top of the stairs, causing her to trip and fall down the stairs.
It was undisputed that there was a raised area of the porch surface located a few inches from the front edge of the top step between the doormat and the front step. An investigative report noted that the irregularity was only about 1/8th of an inch high. However, the raised area of the porch surface was located directly in the middle of the steps, which was noted to be a busy, heavily traversed point of primary access into and out of the public building.
After reviewing the law pertaining to trivial defects in premises liability cases, the court denied the Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment after noting that no definite or mathematical rule can be laid down as to the depth or size of a sidewalk defect to determine whether the defect was trivial as a matter of law.
|Judge Richard Gray|
Judge Gray held that the question of whether or not allowing the defect in question to exist at that location constituted negligence, was a question that should be decided by a jury.
Judge Gray further found that the Plaintiff’s testimony was sufficient to also raise a question of fact for the jury to determine whether or not the cause of her fall was indeed the defect in question.
For these reasons, the Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment was denied.
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