Plaintiff’s Premises Liability Case Against Municipality Dismissed Due to Late Filing

Earlier this month, an appellate court in North Dakota issued a written opinion affirming the dismissal of a plaintiff’s premises liability case against a city because the case was filed after the applicable statute of limitations. In the case of Frith v. City of Fargo, the court rejected the plaintiff’s argument that a longer statute of limitations should apply because the condition that caused her injury was created by a third party rather than the city named in the lawsuit.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured in July 2012 while rollerblading in a park owned and operated by the City of Fargo. According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was injured when she tripped over a soft patch of pavement that had recently been placed to cover up a crack. The paving had been completed not by a city employee but by a third-party independent contractor.

The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the city only. She claimed that the city’s negligence in failing to deal with the hazard caused her injuries. The lawsuit was within three years of the accident, but the plaintiff failed to properly serve the city, so the initial case was dismissed. The plaintiff then refiled the lawsuit and properly served the defendant in October 2015.

The city argued that the lawsuit had been filed too late and asked the court to dismiss the case. Specifically, the city pointed to a three-year statute of limitations applicable to all cases filed against a government entity. In response, the plaintiff made several arguments. First, she claimed that the six-year statute of limitations should apply to her case because an independent contractor had filled the crack, and personal injury cases against non-government entities have a six-year statute of limitations. The court quickly dismissed this argument, noting that the case was filed against a government entity rather than the contractor.

Next, the plaintiff claimed that her claim did not legally accrue until September 2013, when she had her case reviewed by an expert. The court explained that the discovery rule may act to toll a statute of limitations in some circumstances, but in this case, the plaintiff was aware of what caused her injury on the day it occurred. Thus, the discovery rule had no application. As a result, the court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of her case, and the plaintiff will not be entitled to compensation for the injuries she sustained.

Have You Been Injured in a Slip-and-Fall Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of slip-and-fall accident in the Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, D.C. areas, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, depending on where your injury occurred, the type of conduct involved, and who the named defendants are, various statutes of limitations will apply. Make sure you consult with a dedicated Washington, D.C. attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and determine which time constraints you may be facing. Call 410-654-3600 to speak with a dedicated personal injury attorney today.

More Blog Posts:

Court Holds Plaintiff Does Not Need to Release Unused Expert Witness’ Report, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, November 15, 2016

Trampoline Park’s Contract Mandating Arbitration Found to Be Unenforceable, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, November 2, 2016

Contact Information