Saturday, March 29, 2014

TN COA REVERSES DISMISSAL OF SLIP AND FALL CASE INVOLVING INADEQUATE LIGHTING

On November 30, 2010, Plaintiff Cynthia Christian was an invited guest for a function at Ms. Lassie's Lodge in Campbell County, Tennessee.  The Lodge was regularly rented for parties and other functions via the nearby Hampton Inn.  Ms. Christian arrived when it was still daylight, and the function ended after dark.

Before or during the function, an owner of The Lodge in charge of the event turned on some exterior lights.  However, the lights installed and  intended to illuminate the parking area and walkway leading to The Lodge were not operative.  As Ms. Christian walked from The Lodge to her car she stepped into a hole in the parking area which could not be seen in the dark.  She suffered personal injuries which resulted in more than $50,000 in medical expenses.  She later sued The Lodge for its negligence in failing to provide adequate lighting on the walkway and parking area for guests.

The Lodge asked the Circuit Court for Campbell County to dismiss the case claiming that: (1) it had no notice that the lights in question were out and (2) despite the lack of lighting Ms. Christian was more than 50 percent at fault for her fall and injuries.  In other words, the company who operated The Lodge for profit claimed that it had no idea its lights did not work and that if Ms. Christian could not see in the dark that was her problem.  The Lodge maintained this disingenuous defense even after The Lodge staff testified that: 1) the owner was in fact aware that the lights for the walkway and parking area were inoperative before the evening function; 2) they had no procedure for the inspection and maintenance of the exterior lights; and 3) the day after the fall and injury The Lodge staff inspected the lights and found as many as 14 exterior flood lights inoperative including those for the walkway and parking area.

Despite The Lodge's clear and actual notice of its inoperable lights, its failure to inspect or replace the lights, and the danger created by the lack of lighting, the Circuit Court inexplicably dismissed the case.  The Circuit Court found that there was insufficient evidence to show that The Lodge had notice of the lighting issue prior to Ms. Christian's fall - despite The Lodge's own apparent admission to the contrary.

Ms. Christian appealed, and on March 28, 2014, the Tennessee Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the Circuit Court properly finding that a jury could reasonably find that : 1) The Lodge had actual notice of the inoperative lights, the associated danger and a duty to act reasonably to remedy the issue; and/or 2) the lighting problem existed long enough that The Lodge through reasonable care and diligence should have discovered the danger and replaced the lights.  The case was remanded for trial by jury on all issues. Read the full opinion here.

41 comments:

  1. If you were to slip and fall at a place like this, you are going to want to contact a personal injury law firm to help you out. That way you know you will get the help and this will not go unnoticed. I hope that you can get help soon and not have to deal with this on your own.
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  3. My friend is looking for a personal injury attorney right now. He fell at work and thinks that it could have been prevented. I think that getting a lawyer would help him figure this out. It sounds like a similar situation to this.
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  7. I was hurt because I slipped in a dark room. The company did not have enough lighting at all. My personal injury lawyer helped me settle for a good amount of money. The money was nice, but I wish I could still feel my legs. http://www.lawsonglod.com/en/personal_injury.html

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  8. Premises liability is a very important matter that establishment owners should not overlook. Simple problems like issues with lighting especially when it puts the safety of people at risk. It's good to know that the dismissal of the slip and fall case has been reversed.

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  9. Being able to see where you are going in a very important thing. I have gotten hurt because of not being able to see. Granted my injuries were very minimal with no need to go to a hospital. The case that is talked about in this blog definitely calls for having legal representation. I wonder what the final decision was?
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  10. I had a friend who decided it was a good idea to make a left turn while the car coming the opposite direction decided to speed through a yellow light. He got his back end hit and he spun out. I don't really know who's fault it would be but my friend got a pretty bad concussion. Is he going to need a personal injury lawyer or will he be fine without one? http://www.apersonalinjurynetworkil.com

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  12. This case seems really similar to the one that my sister wants to file. She was severely injured because of bad lighting. The medical costs are way more that she originally expected so she wants some sort of compensation. It sounds like this type of case is a little more complex than we thought too, from what you said in the article. We should probably try to find a personal injury lawyer that could help us figure out what course of action to take that would yield the best results. http://www.attorneykucera.com

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  14. I have been in search of a good personal injury lawyer for a while now. I want to find one that is pretty well known and has a good reputation. Also, it would be nice to find a lawyer that practices on a "no win, no fees" basis.
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  15. That is really unfortunate that she got hurt like that. I'm irritated she didn't win the case. They clearly neglected these lights and should have replaced them before the event in question took place. I hope she was able to cover her medical expenses.

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  16. Thanks for all of the great information. I think it's really good to make sure that you've got a really good lawyer on the ready. You just never know when you're going to end up getting into an accident where you need the help of a lawyer. That's why I always make sure that I've got a lawyer on the ready.
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  17. Has a conclusion been reached yet? I'm with you and the woman in this case. Falling might have been partially her fault, but the broken lights are dangerous for everyone. I can't believe no one fell earlier. http://www.attorneyinjury.com

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  18. My brother was just in an accident similar to this one. It's interesting that the case was originally dismissed. It seems pretty clear to me that the negligence of the establishment caused the injury. I'm glad to hear that they reversed the dismissal. That means there is some hope for my brother. http://www.herbertmaxey.com/personal-injury.html

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