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Court summarily dismisses slip and fall claim against apartment complex

Carolyn Wilson suffered three fractures in her leg when she stepped on a graveled landscaping berm adjacent to the parking lot while attempting to help her daughter unload the trunk of their car.  Wilson argued that the bermed area adjacent to the curb was a dual-purpose location designed as a decorative barrier but also intended to allow tenants access to their parked vehicles.  She claimed that the landscaping was not reasonably appropriate for this dual-purpose common area.

The Court held that even if others used the area for access to vehicles or as a walkway, as Ms. Wilson described, since the designers had not intended it for that purpose, it could not qualify as a dual-purpose common area.  The high court characterized the rocky berm as "obviously" not intended as a walking or standing area and Wilson's use of the area to access the car trunk contrary to its "obvious intended purpose."  Given the Court's characterization, it concluded that reasonable jurors could not find in Wilson's favor.

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