Morrison Mahoney Partner Steve Bolotin and Associate Jill McGrath obtained an affirmance of summary judgment in the Appeals Court in favor of their client, a condominium association.
The plaintiff claimed she was injured when she tripped on a landscaping stake used to mark grassy areas for a snow removal contractor. The plaintiff claimed that the stake was bent, and during the course of one evening was turned by some unknown means so that the bent area protruded into a walkway. The trial court determined that the condominium association did not have notice of the hazardous condition, and therefore could not be said to have breached any duty to the plaintiff. On appeal the plaintiff argued that because the stake had been observed to be bent two weeks earlier, and because the association had a duty to keep the walkways clear, there was a question of facts as to whether the association failed to address a hazardous condition. However, affirming a finding of the trial judge, the Appeals Court determined that the mere fact that the stake was bent did not constitute a hazardous condition itself, and it only became so when it was turned onto the walkway. Since it was undisputed that the bent stake was never reported to the condominium association, and the association had no reasonable time to note that it was protruding into a walkway, the notice requirement to support a premises liability claim was not satisfied and summary judgment must stand.