Sunday, June 3, 2012

Summary Judgment Granted in Monroe County Sidewalk Trip and Fall Case

Summary Judgment was granted in favor of the Defendants in the recent trip and fall case of Pietrowski v. Gallagher, PICS Case No. 12-0994 (C.P. Monroe Co. March 7, 2012 Zulick, J.).

Judge Arthur L. Zulick
Monroe County Cour of Common Pleas

In Pietrowski, Judge Arthur L. Zulick of the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas ruled that the rise or gap in a sidewalk surface was not significant enough to put the owner on notice of an allegedly dangerous condition. Given the law that a pedestrian bears the responsibility to avoid slight imperfections in the surface of a walkway, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendants.

According to reports on the opinion, the Plaintiff fell in daylight conditions.  Both parties submitted photographs of the area in question. The photographs show that the gap was slightly irregular and that one slab of the sidewalk was raised about1/2 inch above the other. The court noted that Pennsylvania case law has held that up to a 2-inch gap is even not enough of a defect to impose liability on a property owner for failure to remedy or repair the alleged defect.

For other Tort Talk posts on other cases reviewing the Trivial Defect Doctrine, click here.

A copy of this case can be secured from the Pennsylvania Law Weekly Instant Case Service by calling 1-800-276-7427 and providing the PICS Case number noted above.

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (May 29, 2012).

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