Thursday, September 24, 2020

Summary Judgment Granted in Premises Case Where Plaintiff Produces No Evidence of a Defect

An ottoman is an ottoman is an ottoman.

In the case of Monfiletto v. Nordstrom, Inc., No. 5:19-CV-04005-JDW (E.D. Pa. July 31, 2020 Wolson, J.), the court granted summary judgment in a premises liability matter.  The Plaintiff, who used a cane to help her walk, was allegedly injured when she fell off an ottoman in a dressing room as she went to sit on it.  The Plaintiff alleged that the ottoman was slippery.

The court found that the Plaintiff’s description of the allegedly defective condition in this premises liability case was contradicted by objective evidence in the record in the form of a photograph of the ottoman.  The court stated that the photo showed that the "ottoman was just an ottoman" and showed no evidence of anything blameworthy.    The court found that this photographic evidence served to support the entry of summary judgment.

The court also rule that any allegedly defective condition at issue was open, obvious and admittedly known to the Plaintiff, who used the ottoman anyway.

As such, the court also found that the still valid doctrine of the assumption of risk also served to bar the Plaintiff’s cause of action as a matter of law.

The Court concluded its opinion in refreshing fashion by noting sympathy for the Plaintiff but also reaffirming that the Plaintiff had not offered any evidence that the Defendant store caused the Plaintiff's fall.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.  The companion Order can be viewed HERE.

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of the Reed Smith law firm for bringing this case to my attention.

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