Friday, June 3, 2022

Exculpatory Clause in a Lease Found To Apply Only to Injuries Suffered Inside Plaintiff's Apartment And Not to Slip and Fall in Parking Lot of Complex

In the case of Lower v. Nevil, No. CV-153-2020 (C.P. Snyder Co. May 6, 2022 Sholley, P.J.), the court denied a Motion for Summary Judgment in a slip and fall case that occurred at an apartment complex.

The Plaintiff allegedly sustained injuries when she slipped and fell as she walked around her car in the parking lot of a small apartment complex at which she resided. She sued the Defendant landowner for personal injuries.

After discovery was completed, the landlord filed a Motion for Summary Judgment relying upon the hills and ridges doctrine and also asserting that an exculpatory clause in the residential lease relieved the Defendant from any liability.

The court found that issues of fact prevented the entry of summary judgment relative to the hills and ridges doctrine. 

With regard to the exculpatory clause in the lease agreement, the court rejected the Plaintiff’s claim that the lease was a contract of adhesion but accepted the Plaintiff’s argument that the exculpatory clause of the lease only applied to release the landlord from any liability for any injuries that occurred inside the specific apartment rented by the Plaintiff and not with respect to the common areas and/or parking lot where the Plaintiff actually fell. As such, the court denied summary judgment in this regard as well.

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

Source of image:  Photo by Asael Pena on

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