Thursday, August 11, 2016

Summary Judgment Denied In Lackawanna County Premises Liability Case

In his recent Opinion in the case of Gunsior v. K Investments,, No. 2011-CV-4742 (C.P. Lacka. Co. May 25, 2016 Minora, S.J.), Lackawanna County Senior Judge Carmen D. Minora addressed a summary judgment motion filed by Defendant Quaker Steak and Lube restaurant in a slip and fall matter.  

Defendant Quaker Steak first asserted that it was entitled to summary judgement in that the injured Plaintiff, initially a business invitee, should be legally determined to be a trespasser after improperly exiting premises over a guardrail and through landscaping.   The Defendant asserted that, as such conduct was not authorized, the only duty owed to the alleged Plaintiff was that the landowner avoid willful or wanton misconduct towards alleged trespassers.    

After reviewing premises liability law regarding the status of the injured party plaintiffs (trespasser, licensee, invitee) and the duty of care owed to different types of plaintiffs, Judge Minora noted that, generally speaking, the determination of whether or not a person is a trespasser, licensee, or a business invitee, is one of fact typically left for a jury’s determination.   The court found that issues of fact in this regard precluded the court from entering summary judgment.  

As a second basis for its Motion for Summary Judgment, Quaker Steak asserted that the Plaintiff chose a route to the parking lot which was unsafe as opposed to the safer alternative route that the Plaintiff had previously used to enter the premises earlier.   In this regard, Quaker Steak asserted the Plaintiff’s comparative negligence as a result of this choice of route barred the Plaintiff recovery.  

The court likewise found that issues of fact prevented it from entering summary judgment in this regard. 

Anyone wishing to review this decision may click this LINK.

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