Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Court Finds No Evidence to Support Claims of Liability Against Adjacent Landowner Liability for Plaintiff's Injury on Neighbor's Property

In the case of Slavinski v. Estate of Gallatz, No. 13-CV-1772 (C.P. Lacka. Co. July 5, 2019 Nealon, J.), Judge Terrence R. Nealon of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas addressed issues of alleged adjacent landowner liability for injuries that occurred on a neighbor's property.

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff allegedly snagged her pants on a neighbor's chain link fence and fell forward onto the surface of the premises owned by that neighbor but injured her arm on the protruding tip of a cemetery grave marker that was embedded in the ground on the neighbor's property.

The Plaintiff sued the neighbor who owned the chain link fence, the nearby cemetery, and the church that owned and operated the cemetery.

Following discovery, the church and the cemetery filed a motion for summary judgment asserting that the Plaintiff had failed to uncover any evidence to show how or when the grave marker became embedded in the neighbor's property or any evidence of actual or constructive notice on the part of the cemetery or church in this regard.

Judge Terrence R. Nealon
Lackawanna County
Judge Nealon noted that, while Pennsylvania tort law generally recognizes that landowners may be liable to others for injuries caused by dangerous conditions on the landowner's property, the law does not generally impose a duty or responsibility upon an adjacent landowner to correct or warn others of any defective conditions on a neighbor's property which the adjacent landowner did not create.

Finding no triable issues against the cemetery or the church, the court granted summary judgment in their favor.

Anyone wishing to review this Opinion by Judge Nealon may click this LINK.

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