Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Summary Judgment Granted in Trip and Fall Case Due To Failure of Evidence as to Cause of Fall


In the case of Koscinski v. Ahrat’s Market, No. 5977-CV-2017 (C.P. Monroe Co. Dec. 20, 2019 Harlacher Sibum, J.), the court granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendant operator of a supermarket and the landlord who leased the property in a case where the Plaintiff failed to produce any evidence as to the cause of her slip and fall.

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff allegedly slipped and fell while walking into the market. She alleged that she fell due to a defective condition which she simply described as "the sidewalk at the ramp." 

The market was part of a plaza of stores. 

The court noted that, where a landlord leases to multiple tenants but retains control and possession of the common walkways, it is the landlord, and not the tenants, or owes a duty to the business invitees to keep the common areas safe, unless a contrary provision is noted in a lease. 

The court noted that, in this case, the incident occurred in a common area of the property. 

Given that the market had no duty to maintain a common area under the lease or under Pennsylvania landlord/tenant law, summary judgment was entered in favor of that party. The court additionally noted that the Plaintiff failed to provide enough evidence to prove the cause of her injury. 

Judge Jennifer Harlacher Sibum
Monroe County

Given that the Plaintiff did not produce enough evidence to show the cause of her injuries, the landlord was dismissed as well. 

Judge Harlacher Sibum noted that the Plaintiff had repeatedly stated in her deposition that she did not know what caused her or her mother-in-law to fall and that she did not remember hitting anything with her foot or tripping on anything. The court also noted that the Plaintiff’s mother-in-law was also unable to provide any information regarding the cause of incident.

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

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Feb. 11, 2020).

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