Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Pennsylvania Superior Court's Latest Take on the Trivial Defect Doctrine


Does a 5/8 inch differential in a sidewalk surface
constitute a trivial defect as a matter of law?


The Pennsylvania Superior Court revisited the Trivial Defect Doctrine most recently in the case of Reinoso v. Heritage Warminster SPE LLC,  2015 Pa. Super. 8, No. 3174 EDA 2012 (Jan. 14, 2015 Stabile, Ford Elliott, Bowes, Allen, Wecht, Jenkins, J.)(Ott, Bender, Shogan, J., dissenting)

The Court reversed a trial court's entry of summary judgment in favor of a defendant possessor of land.  The trial court had ruled that a 5/8 inch differential  was indeed a trivial defect. 

Reiterating the law that there is no bright line rule as to what constitutes a trivial defect as a matter of law and emphasizing that the Plaintiff produced an expert who opined that the alleged defect exceeded safety standards, the Superior Court reversed the entry of summary judgment, ruling that the issue should be left for a jury to decide.

Anyone wishing to review the Superior Court's majority Opinion in Reinoso may click this LINK.

The Dissenting Opinion, in which the dissenters stated that they would have upheld the trial court's finding that a 5/8 height differential in the sidewalk surface was indeed a trivial defect as a matter of law, can be viewed HERE.


Source of imagewww.mathatube.com

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