Monday, June 12, 2017

No Duty on Homeowner's Association to Maintain Stop Sign

In his recent decision in the case of Brown v. Russaw, No. 8953-CIVIL-2014 (C.P. Monroe Co. May 10, 2017  Williamson, J.), Judge David J. Williamson of the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas granted summary judgment in favor of a homeowner’s association in a motor vehicle accident case involving a missing stop sign.  

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff alleged personal injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident that occurred when she was struck by another vehicle which had entered into the intersection from a roadway at which a stop sign was missing.  

While the court agreed that issues of fact prevented the entry of summary judgment on this issue of whether the Defendant Property Owner’s Association had actual or constructive notice of the missing stop sign, the court still granted summary judgment after finding that the Defendant homeowner’s association had no duty to maintain or replace the stop sign.  

In his Opinion, Judge Williamson noted that the duties of a private community association with regards to stop signs did not appear to be addressed under Pennsylvania case law.  

The Defendant association pointed to analogous cases involving municipalities which indicated that there was no duty upon a municipality to erect, maintain, or replace a missing stop sign at an intersection.   

Although the court acknowledged that the Defendant community association was not a municipality, the court felt that the municipality cases were indeed analogous and noted that, if a municipality as no obligation to erect, maintain, or repair stop signs, then, for the same reasons, the court found that a private road owner should likewise not have that obligation.  

The court also noted that, there were no facts set forth under which the Plaintiff could recover against the homeowner's association in any event under the law pertaining to a lack of a stop sign as it appeared that the tortfeasor Defendant driver allegedly failed to follow the rules of the right-of-way at the intersection.  

As stated, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the property owner’s association.  

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

To view a Tort Talk post on another missing stop sign case, click HERE.

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