Home health aide cannot sue condo association over icy porch and steps
Sandra Thompson, a home health aide, fell down the front steps of the Sierra Pointe Condominium after providing assistance to one of the residents. She was injured and believed that her injuries resulted from the failure to salt the lower steps leading from the porch. She sued the condo owners association and their maintenance contractor, alleging that it was negligent to salt the porch and top step without salting the remaining steps.The Court held that the contractor was immune from any common law claim of negligence because its duties arose from a contract with a third-party. It also held that the contractor did not create a "new" hazard by partially salting the steps and creating the illusion that ice had been eliminated. Since the lower steps were already icy, the Court held that no "new" hazard was created--effectively dodging the issue raised by the Plaintiff.
The Court of Appeals did allow the Plaintiff to amend her pleadings after she learned that the contractor was not obligated to salt the steps at all. Since salting the steps was not a contractual duty, the contractual immunity defense did not apply to claims that it salted in a negligent manner, creating a hazardous condition.