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It’s Not Me; It’s You (PA)


August 8, 2019 at 8:48:15 PM

<p style="text-align: justify;">In<em> <a href="">Slavinski v. Gallatz</a></em>, a Pennsylvania court ruled on a landowner’s duty to correct or warn of an artificial condition on an adjacent property.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Plaintiff was walking in an alleyway owned by a neighbor, when she fell forward injuring herself on a protruding grave marker embedded in the ground.  Subsequently, the plaintiff commenced suit against, <em>inter alia</em>, the neighbor as well as the church that operated the nearby cemetery.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The church and the cemetery moved for summary judgment to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint.  In response, the plaintiff argued, that while she did not injure herself on the church or cemetery’s property, the church and cemetery had a duty to prevent debris from the cemetery from being thrown onto any adjacent property, including, but not limited to the alleyway.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">In analyzing whether to grant the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, the court reasoned the existence of a dangerous condition or happening was not sufficient to establish liability.  Further, there was no Pennsylvania law that existed holding that a landowner’s duty extended to correcting or warning of a defective artificial condition on a neighboring property.  Moreover, no discovery produced evidenced the fact that the church or the cemetery was aware that their actions, in, e.g., removing debris from their property, had resulted in the claimed defective condition in the alleyway.  Accordingly, the court concluded that the defendants were entitled to summary judgment.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Thus, this case offers additional clarity regarding the scope of a landowner’s duties and obligations.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Please email <a href="">Colleen E. Hayes</a> with any questions.</p>

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