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COA split over reversing summary judgment in slip-and-fall case

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The Indiana Court of Appeals was divided Wednesday over whether a Merrillville store failed to preserve its issue of prejudice by opposing summary judgment granted to two companies in a negligence lawsuit filed by a woman who fell on ice in front of the northern Indiana Pier 1 Imports store.

Carolyn Harris fell on an ice-covered sidewalk in front of the Pier 1 store as an employee was salting the sidewalk. Pier 1’s lease agreement with Acadia Merrillville Realty requires Acadia keep the sidewalk free from ice and snow. Acadia contracted with Boyd Construction Company to provide that work. Harris and her husband sued the three companies, which all filed for summary judgment. The trial court ruled Acadia and Boyd didn’t breach their respective duties of care and granted summary judgment for them. The court denied Pier 1’s motion, as well as its motion to correct error.

In Pier 1 Imports (U.S.), Inc., v. Acadia Merrillville Realty, L.P. and Boyd Construction Company, Inc., 45A03-1207-CT-318, Acadia and Boyd argued Pier 1 lacks standing to challenge the awards because it failed to preserve the issue of prejudice by objecting to Acadia’s and Boyd’s motions or advising the trial court of an intent to allocate fault to Acadia and Boyd as nonparties.

“Because Pier 1 did not have an opportunity to object to Acadia’s and Boyd’s dismissal prior to the court’s ruling on their motions for summary judgment, we conclude that Pier 1 has standing to appeal,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote for the majority, which included Judge Patricia Riley.

The majority went on to find that whether Acadia was discharged of its duty of care merely by contracting with Boyd is a question for the jury to decide. And, because there is evidence that additional salting was necessary after Boyd had already salted the sidewalk, a jury could reasonably infer that Boyd failed to exercise reasonable care in performing the snow and ice removal services, Bradford wrote.

Judge Elaine Brown dissented, believing Pier 1 had a practical opportunity to object to the motions for summary judgment by Acadia and Boyd prior to their dismissal. She cited U-Haul Intern Inc. v. Nulls Machine and Mfg. Shop, 736 N.E.2d 271, 280 (Ind. Ct. App. 2000), Nationwide Ins. Co. v. Parmer, 958 N.E.2d 802, 807 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011), and the Indiana Supreme Court opinions upon which those decisions rely to support her decision that Pier 1 waived its claim for appeal.

 

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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