Woman who fell in airport parking ramp has no recourse
Ida Isaac fell into a hole at the Bishop Airport parking ramp. The hole was covered with an inch of snow at the time. One investigating officer noticed the hole from two parking spaces away, however, the other officer, like the victim, did not see it. They were distracted from the partially obscured hole by a nearby grate, apparently. The parking authority was contractually obligated to maintain the facility in a safe manner and had reported the hole to the Airport Authority on several prior occasions, but no one had taken action to repair or barricade the hole.Unbelievably, the Court held that:
1. Even though the Airport Authority was dismissed from the case because it was "immune" from liability as a government authority, and even though the parking contractor had assumed the duty to safely maintain the ramp, the Airport Authority could be named as a third-party at fault and the contract could pass blame to the Authority.
2. Even though the contractor operated the facility, it was not "in possession" of the ramp because as a practical matter, the Authority was responsible for approving and paying for substantial repairs. The contractual obligation to keep the ramp safe did not make the contractor liable for unsafe conditions in the parking facility.
3. Even where one investigating office also did not see the hole as he approached, it may still be "open and obvious," eliminating any duty to make repairs.