Summary Judgment Decision On Premises Liability Upheld

Shuttleworth PLLC attorneys Lane Wolfenbarger and Scott Hickerson recently obtained a summary judgment ruling in a premises liability matter involving a fall on a client’s property.  On appeal, the Tennessee Court of Appeals upheld the judgment finding that the defendant had negated essential elements of the plaintiffs’ claims by showing that the plaintiffs could not identify the object that caused the fall, and thus could not establish that the defendant caused the dangerous condition of which the plaintiffs complained or that the defendant had actual or constructive notice that the condition existed long enough for it to be discovered by proper diligence.

The Court of Appeals further found that while the defendant might be responsible for a myriad of conditions throughout its business, the plaintiffs could not establish that any of those conditions caused the fall without identifying the object responsible, and that without any additional evidence concerning the identity of the object, the trial court did not err in granting the motion for summary judgment under Tenn. Code Ann. § 20-16-101 because the evidence was insufficient to establish the causation element of plaintiff’s claim.

Willis v. McDonald’s Rests. of Tenn., Inc., 2015 Tenn. App. LEXIS 987 (Tenn. Ct. App. Dec. 23, 2015).