Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Choice of Ways Doctrine Reviewed in Premises Liability Case

In the case of Graham v. Mohegan Sun, No. 3:14-CV-0908 (M.D. Pa. June 14, 2016 Kosik, J.), the court denied a landowner Defendant’s request for summary judgment in a trip and fall case.  

In this matter, the Plaintiff allegedly fell on a well-worn, but informal dirt path through grass on the premises.  

Judge Kosik held that it could not be held as a matter of law that the well-worn, but informal, dirt path through grass upon which the Plaintiff fell was an obviously dangerous condition so as to require dismissal under the choice of ways doctrine.

Judge Kosik reaffirmed that the choice of ways doctrine requires (1) a safe course, (2) a dangerous course, and (3) facts which would put a reasonable person on notice of the danger or actual knowledge of the danger.  

In this matter, there was no evidence of any signs advising of a safer route.  

The court otherwise ruled that a construction company’s whose worker allegedly directed the Plaintiff on a path to take could also be liable under a contractual provision requiring the construction company to take reasonable precautions on the land.  

Overall, the court found that issues of fact precluded the entry of summary judgment in favor of the defense.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this Order may click this LINK. 

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of Reed Smith for bringing this case to my attention.

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