Thursday, December 11, 2014

Premises Liability

Premises liability law in Mississippi and Tennessee are virtually the same.  In any kind of slip/trip and fall cases, it must be shown that the defendants had knowledge of the condition or should have known about it.  This is illustrated in Hannah v. Sherwood Forest Rentals, LLC No. E2014-00082-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Nov. 17, 2014) located here.  In this case the plaintiff alleged that she stairs gave way resulting in injuries to both feet and ankles.

The Defendants filed for summary judgment which the trial court granted since there was no genuine issue of material fact by which a reasonable jury could find that defendants had actual or constructive notice of any alleged dangerous condition. The Tennessee Court of Appeals affirmed.  The Defendants presented evidence that there had been no prior or subsequent reports of problems with the stairs; that the maintenance staff inspected the cabin at least monthly and had not seen a problem; that the housekeeping staff cleaned the cabin prior to plaintiff’s family checking in and did not see a problem with the stairs; and that the owners had not seen any problem with the stairs or received any report of such a problem during their frequent visits to the cabin.

Only question I had is what if the Plaintiff had an expert which stated that the inspections by the Defendant were not adequate and could have been discovered?  I believe that would have survived summary judgment.

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