Early Exit for Client in Lackawanna County Slip and Fall

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Cipriani & Werner’s Daniel Stofko recently obtained summary judgment on behalf of a client in the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas prior to the close of discovery. Attorney Stofko’s client operated a school for children and young adults with behavioral and mental health difficulties. The plaintiff, a teacher’s aide employed by a third party contractor, alleged that she was injured after slipping on food or drink on the floor of the cafeteria as the result of a food fight between students.

Discovery revealed that the teacher’s aide was on cafeteria duty and witnessed the alleged food fight. At her deposition, the plaintiff testified that despite witnessing the food fight, she did not seek help from other employees and knew that food and drink remained on the floor until the end of the lunch period. The plaintiff testified that upon leaving her duty in the cafeteria, she walked toward the doorway and did not look at the floor in front of her at which time she slipped on liquid on the floor.

Attorney Stofko successfully argued that the client had no duty to protect the plaintiff from a known risk that the plaintiff chose to encounter voluntarily. It was established through discovery that the plaintiff observed food and drink scattered about the cafeteria, realized that the floor could be slippery as a result, failed to seek help from the client’s employees, failed to seek an alternate route, and walked out of the cafeteria over the affected area without looking at the floor in front of her. The plaintiff unsuccessfully argued that summary judgment was premature due to the fact that discovery was not yet closed.

Having tailored the defense strategy with an eye toward summary judgment, Attorney Stofko secured judgment on behalf of the client at an early stage of the litigation, avoiding unnecessary time, burden, and the expense of protracted discovery.

For more information about this topic, please see the article below.


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