May 18 2021

Douglas Price and Stephen Ryan Obtain Summary Judgment in Providence County Superior Court

Morrison Mahoney Partner Douglas Price and Associate Stephen Ryan recently obtained Summary Judgment in the Providence County Superior Court following briefing and oral argument in a premise’s liability case.

Our team represented a residential landlord in a personal injury suit filed by one of their tenants. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that he was carrying a large air conditioning unit and descending a flight of stairs down to the basement of the property. Plaintiff alleged that a tile at the top of the steps gave way, causing him to slip and fall down the stairs. As a result of the fall, plaintiff alleged numerous orthopedic injuries including a ruptured biceps tendon in his right elbow, which required surgical repair. Plaintiff contended that the insured was negligent in the maintenance of their property.

At the plaintiff’s deposition there was obtained testimony from the plaintiff indicating that the door to the basement hit him and knocked him off balance just prior to his fall, creating a strong argument for comparative negligence. Most significantly, however, the team also obtained testimony from plaintiff confirming that the tile broke simultaneous to his fall and that the tile had no noticeable crack or defect prior to it breaking.

It was argued at summary judgment, based on Rhode Island case law, that there was no evidence in the record to support a finding that the insured was, or should have been aware of, the allegedly unsafe condition.

The Court rendered a lengthy opinion in which it granted our Motion for Summary Judgment, finding no negligence or breach of any duty on behalf of the insured landlord.

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