SUMMARY JUDGMENT GRANTED TO LANDOWNER: OPEN AND OVBIOUS CONDITION DOCTRINE APPLIED TO LANDSCAPED AREA.
In a suit for personal injuries commenced against a commercial property owner, Partner Aaron Gross of Sobel Pevzner, LLC, successfully argued the “open and obvious” doctrine in support of the Court’s grant of summary judgment. This action arose in March of 2013 when plaintiff claimed to have tripped and fallen crossing over a landscaped area to gain access to the entrance to the defendants’ store. Plaintiff alleged that the defendant was negligent in that the landscaped area represented and dangerous and defective condition and that the layout of the parking lot in relation to the entrance to the store “invited” plaintiff and other customers to access the front door by crossing over the subject landscaped area.
In support of the motion for summary judgment, Mr. Gross argued that the condition that plaintiff was caused to fall on was open and obvious, that being a raised landscaped area that was clearly and distinctly delineated from the parking lot by a raised cement curb. Additionally, it was argued that the alleged condition that the plaintiff tripped and fell on was inherent and incidental to the nature of that particular landscaped area of the property. As such, the court held that it was not reasonably foreseeable that people would walk through the area and as such any condition situated within the landscaped area did not constitute an unreasonably dangerous condition.
The Court found that the condition that plaintiff tripped and fell on was in fact open and obvious as argued by Mr. Gross, and being inherent to the nature of the land the defendant was free of any negligence.
Aaron Gross is a partner at
Sobel Pevzner, LLC