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02/16/2012

Cipriani & Werner Obtains Dismissal of Personal Injury Claim Against Convenience Store

Attorney Adam L. Seiferth, for Cipriani & Werner, PC, successfully defended a convenience mart against a claim that plaintiff was injured due to defective exterior steps. Plaintiff parked her vehicle along the side of the store, walked up two steps and along the front of the premises to the entrance. As plaintiff was about to enter the store, another woman was exiting. Plaintiff attempted to hold the door open for the woman, when without looking down, plaintiff stepped backwards and fell, severely breaking her ankle. Plaintiff claimed that the steps created a dangerous and hazardous condition.

Relying on the admissions of plaintiff obtained during her deposition, Attorney Seiferth moved for summary judgment on the basis that the steps presented an obvious condition and that it was the duty of the plaintiff to look where she was walking and to see that which was obvious. The Court of Common Pleas, noting that whether a danger is obvious is typically a question of fact for the jury to decide, agreed that the configuration of the steps of the convenience mart “would have been obvious to anyone exercising normal perception, intelligence, and judgment.” The court also placed weight on the fact that “Plaintiff admitted during her deposition she was not looking down when stepping backward.”

The court’s opinion, which reinforces the valuable rule that there is no duty to protect invitees from obvious conditions, can be reviewed here