Two ice and snow slip and fall victims' claims summarily dismissed
Today, the Court of Appeals issued two opinions denying a jury trial to people who fell and suffered injury. One woman fell on the edge of the sidewalk to her apartment building, into a 2 inch depression that was obscured by uncleared snow and inadequate lighting. She argued that the state law requiring landlords to keep common areas reasonably safe included the duty to adequately light, clear and landscape entry ways. She had the miserable fortune of drawing a Court of Appeals panel that included Kirsten Kelly and Christopher Murray: these insurance-oriented activists ruled that the landlord owed her no duty, so she had no right to a jury trial.
The other case involved a man who showed up at his eye doctor's office for a morning appointment only to find entryways and parking lot covered with 12-18 inches of snow. He fell on his way to the entrance. The Court of Appeals originally ruled that it was a fact issue for the jury to decide whether either the doctor or the snow removal contractor owed a duty to the patient. The Republican majority on the Supreme Court rejected the trial judge's and the Court of Appeals' analysis and this week, on remand, the Appellate Court felt compelled to summarily dismiss the patient's case. It concluded that under Supreme Court activist, insurance-friendly "reforms," the patient's only "reasonable" alternative when confronted with snow and ice was to go home and come back another day. The cases are Jordan v. Country Court Apartments and Lemin v. John Michael Garrett, MD, PC.