Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Summary Judgment Entered Against Trip and Fall Plaintiff Who Fell Walking Backwards While Not Looking Back

In the case of Meckel v. Lehigh Valley Health Network, PICS Case No. 15-0995 (C.P. Lehigh Co. April 23, 2015 Reichley, J.), the court granted summary judgment to the defendant possessor of land in a premises liability action where the plaintiff alleged that she was injured after she fell while walking backwards out of the defendant's office and fell.

The Plaintiff was pulling another person in a wheelchair as she walked backwards out of the office.  While walking backwards through the door, and not looking back while she was doing so, the plaintiff allegedly struck a large, wheeled trash can located just outside the door.  The plaintiff fell and was allegedly injured.

The court in this matter pointed to the well-settled rule in premises liability cases that it is the duty of a person to look where they are walking and to see that which is obvious.

The court also noted that there are numerous decisions holding that summary judgment is warranted and appropriate where a person fails to look back when walking backwards.

Summary judgment was granted in this Meckel case as well as there was no genuine issue of fact where the plaintiff did not look back at the time she was walking backwards out of the defendant's office.  As such, the plaintiff was found to be precluded from recovering as a matter of law and the defendant's motion for summary judgment was granted.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this Meckel decision may contact me at

Source:  "Case Digests."  Pennsylvania Law Weekly (June 30, 2015).

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