Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Pennsylvania Superior Court Affirms Entry of Summary Judgment On Basis of Assumption of Risk Defense (Non-Precedential)

In its recent non-precedential decision in the case of Denzel v. Federal Cleaning Contractors, et.al., No. 3307 EDA 2014 (Pa. Super. Oct. 9, 2015 Bowes, J., Mundy, J., and Fitzgerald, J.) (Memorandum Opinion by Mundy, J.), the Pennsylvania Superior Court confirmed that a trial court may enter summary judgment based upon an assumption of risk defense.

Although this decision is non-precedential, the court relied upon the precedential Supreme Court case of Carrender v. Fitterer, 469 A.2d 120 (Pa. 1983), in support of its decision.

Both the Denzel and Carrender cases involved slip and fall matters. In this non-precedential Denzel Opinion, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of Defendant after finding that a Plaintiff business invitee assumed the risk of injury by walking through ice and snow at an outdoor shopping center despite knowledge of the dangerous conditions. 

Anyone wishing to review this non-precedential decision may click this LINK.

Commentary:  Although non-precedential, the Denzel decision not only reaffirms that the assumption of risk defense is alive and well in Pennsylvania but also that summary judgment may be granted on the basis of this defense when supported by the record before the court, i.e., when no reasonable minds on a jury could disagree on a conclusion that the Plaintiff assumed the risk of injury such that he or she is barred from a recovery.

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