Monday, October 9, 2017

Trial Court Addresses Liability of Business for Car Accident on Adjoining Road After Patron Drives Off Premises

In its decision in the case of Zurick v. Basile Italian Delight Restaurant and Pizzeria, No. S-1571-2016 (C.P. Schuylkill Co. Miller, J.), the court denied Preliminary Objections filed by a landowner Defendant who asserted that it owed no duty to a Plaintiff injured in a motor vehicle accident that occurred after a vehicle left the parking lot area of the Defendant's restaurant and was involved in an accident with a vehicle on the adjoining roadway.  

The Defendant landowner had asserted that no duty was owned to the Plaintiff under the case of Newell v. Montana West, Inc., 154 A.3d 819 (Pa. Super. 2017), in which the Superior Court ruled, in a case of first impression, that a business does not have a duty to protect its invitees against the dangers associated with adjoining roadways.   The Newell case involved a pedestrian who was struck and killed by a car after he left a show at the defendant’s premises.

The court in Zurick limited the Newell holding to accidents involving pedestrians and ruled that the driveway immunity provisions of the Construction Code Act, 35 P.S. §7210 502 (b)(4)(1) and/or the Municipalities Planning Code, 53 P.S. §10508(6), give rise to a statutory duty upon landowner Defendants related to the creation of a driveway on its premises and/or the failure to maintain such driveway so as not to interfere with the safe travel on the abutting roadway.  

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

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