Thursday, March 8, 2012

Summary Judgment Denied Under Hills and Ridges Doctrine

In the recent Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas case of Greenawalt v. Shenango Presbyterian Seniorcare, PICS Case No. 12-0351 (C.P. Lawrence Feb. 10, 2012 Piccione, J.), the Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas utilized the Hills and Ridges Doctrine to deny a Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment in an ice and/or snow slip and fall case.

In this case, the Plaintiff slipped and fell on an icy area of the Defendant’s premises and allegedly sustained personal injuries. The Plaintiff sued the landowner and a snow removal contractor.

The Defendants eventually moved for summary judgment arguing that they did not owe a duty of care to the Plaintiff to prevent the slip and fall under the Hills and Ridges Doctrine.

In denying the Defendants’ motion, the Court noted that the doctrine did not apply where the Plaintiff’s testimony indicated that the property had been plowed on the day of her fall and that she fell on black ice. Accordingly, the Court found that issues of fact existed on whether the Plaintiff’s slip and fall may have been the result of human intervention as opposed to an entirely natural accumulation of ice or snow following a recent snowfall.

Finding that the case presented questions of material fact, the Court denied the summary judgment motions and allowed the case to proceed to trial.

I do not have a copy of this case. If someone can send it to me, I can share it here on Tort Talk. In the meantime, if you desire a copy of this case, it can be secured from the Pennsylvania Law Weekly Instant Case Service by calling 1-800-276-7427 and given the above-referenced PICS Case No.

Source: Pennsylvania Law Weekly Case Digest (February 28, 2012).

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