Earlier in June of this year, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a slip-and-fall case. Specifically, the court was asked to determine whether the plaintiff’s case should proceed against both the owner of the complex, as well as the property manager. The lower court dismissed the claim against the property manager, and the plaintiff appealed. The case is important for Maryland slip-and-fall accident victims because it illustrates how a plaintiff can potentially hold multiple parties liable for their injuries.
According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff slipped and fell as she was walking from her apartment to a kiosk to pick up her mail. At the time, the plaintiff had lived at the apartment complex for 11 months, and had always driven to get her mail. On her first trip on foot to the mail kiosk, she fell as she was descending a handicap access curb cutout.
As it turns out, the slope of the ramp was in violation of the American with Disabilities Act because it was too steep. And evidently, the owner of the complex learned about this when he hired an inspector to survey the property before he purchased it. After the owner purchased the complex, he enlisted the defendant property management company. The property management company was aware of the inspector’s report noting the ramp violation. However, the contract between the owner and the property management company provided that the property management company only had authority to conduct repairs.
As noted above, the lower court denied the owner’s motion for summary judgment; however, the court granted the property management company’s motion. On the plaintiff’s appeal, the appellate court determined that the property management company’s motion should not have been granted. The court began by thoroughly analyzing the contract between the owner and the property management company. Upon doing so, the court held that the contract might have created a duty on the part of the property management company to protect against the type of harm suffered by the plaintiff. Specifically, the court explained that the document was unclear as to whether the sloped ramp fell within the property management’s responsibilities. Because of this ambiguity, the court concluded that it would be improper to grant the property management company’s motions for summary judgment and that a jury should resolve the case. Thus, as a result of the court’s opinion, the plaintiff’s claims against both defendants will proceed to trial.
Have You Been Injured in a Washington, D.C. Slip-and-Fall Accident?
If you or a loved one recently suffered a serious injury due to a Washington, D.C. slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, we help injury victims and their families pursue claims for compensation against those who are responsible for their injuries. We handle all types of Washington, D.C. personal injury cases, including premises liability, auto accidents, and wrongful death claims. To learn more about how we can obtain the compensation you deserve, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.