Reversal reinstates negligence claim in fall on snowy hotel lot

October 6, 2015

A trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of hotel defendants on a negligence claim arising after a guest slipped, fell and was injured in a parking lot covered by a dusting of snow.

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed Jill Miller v. Rosehill Hotels, LLC d/b/a Holiday Inn Express; Intercontinental Hotel Group d/b/a Holiday Inn Express, 48A02-1504-CT-246, and remanded for proceedings. Miller was hurt after she walked to her car, then slipped and fell in the slick lot on the way back inside in an area she claimed had not been treated with salt.

A Madison Superior trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the Anderson hotel defendants, finding that Miller’s response to the defendants’ summary judgment motion was untimely, there were no issues of material fact, and the hotel was entitled to the judgment as a matter of law.

But Judge Elaine Brown wrote for the panel that the trial court ruling was improper.

“Construing all factual inferences in favor of Miller as the nonmoving party, we conclude that the Hotel failed to carry its burden of establishing that Miller voluntarily accepted a known and obvious risk as a matter of law or that it did not breach its duty to maintain its property in a reasonably safe condition for its invitees as a matter of law,” Brown wrote in remanding for proceedings.


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