Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Summary Judgment Motions Denied in Berks County Slip and Fall Case


In a recent Berks County decision in the case of Kelley v. Rutherford, No. 11-23954 (C.P. Berks Co. Rowley, J.), the Honorable Timothy Rowley denied motions for summary judgment filed by all three Defendants in a matter involving a slip and fall on ice in a private alley.

Essentially, the court found that a genuine issue of material fact existed as to the ownership, possession, maintenance and control of the alley which was located in Reading, Pennsylvania.

The Plaintiff was an employee walking along an alley, which abutted the rear of certain homes when the Plaintiff slipped and fell allegedly due to the presence of ice.  The Plaintiff sued the abutting landowners of the alley closest to the location of the fall.

The Defendant landowners contended that they were not responsible for the maintenance, including the removal of snow and ice, of the alley.  Rather, the Defendants countered, the City of Reading was responsible for snow removal in the area of the Plaintiff's fall.

A representative of the City of Reading was deposed, who testified that not all alleys in the City of Reading are the City's responsibility.  Rather, the City of Reading was noted to have a topographical map outlining which alleys were under the City's responsibility at the time of the incident.  Therefore, Judge Rowley denied the motions  for summary judgment based upon the testimony and existence of genuine issues of material fact to be decided by a jury..

There was no formal Opinion.  The decision denying the motions for summary judgment were by Order only.  Should anyone wish to review the Orders, they may click this LINK.

I send thanks to the prevailing Plaintiff's attorney, Sean Fulmer, Esq., of the Philadelphia law firm of Master, Weinstein, Schatz, Moyer, P.C., for bringing these decisions to my attention.

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