Landlord not responsible for fall from "settled" step lacking a handrail
The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court's dismissal of Don Wright's negligence claim against Meadowood Jackson, L.L.C., his landlord. Wright fell while backing out of his apartment with two bags of garbage and suffered a very severe injury to his hip which was already afflicted with avascular necrosis. He alleged the fall resulted from excessive settling of the step over a series of years, that the step did not comply with the applicable building code, that it needed a handrail, and that caulking on the steps proved that the landlord had actual notice of the defective settling of the step.
The trial court and Court of Appeals dismissed Wright's claim in its entirety. It ruled that he had not adequately developed the evidence about the caulking to demonstrate that the landlord had knowledge of the step settling, that his expert's testimony was not adequate to prove that the step was "unfit for its intended use," and that he did not adequately prove that he fell because of the settled step.