Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Summary Judgment in Slip and Fall Case Affirmed on Appeal

In the case of Wasnetsky v. Quinn’s Market, No. 1160-MDA-2018 (Pa. Super. April 8, 2019 Ott, J., Nichols, J., and Pellegrini, J.) (Op. by Pellegrini, J.) (Non-precedential), the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed a decision by Judge Terrence R. Nealon of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas granting summary judgment for a supermarket Defendant in a fatal slip and fall case in which the trial court ruled that the evidence presented by the Plaintiff after discovery did not pose any triable question of fact as to whether a dangerous condition on the supermarket’s premises caused the alleged injuries to the decedent.   

In so ruling, the Superior Court agreed with the trial court that, although the Plaintiff produced two (2) biomechanical experts both of whom opined that the decedent slipped due to a substance on the floor and that the supermarket was negligent in failing to protect customers from that alleged dangerous condition, neither expert could identify what kind of substance could have caused the accident.  

The Superior Court emphasized that one of the Plaintiff’s expert even concluded his report by emphasizing that “it is impossible to describe the specific state of the floor, that is, what material was on the floor, at that time and how that state contributed [to the accident].” 

The Superior Court therefore affirmed the entry of summary judgment indicating that, to allow the case to proceed to trial, may have invited conjecture on the part of the jury.   As such, the entry of summary judgment by the trial court below was affirmed.  

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

UPDATE:  On January 2, 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied plaintiff's petition for allowance of appeal.  Here is a LINK to the Supreme Court's Order in this regard.

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