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Speculative Theories of Notice Receive Icy Decision (PA)


August 15, 2019 at 10:26:37 PM

<p style="text-align: justify;">In<em> <a href="">Stamps v. Wilk</a></em>, the Pennsylvania Superior Court recently analyzed what establishes proof of notice in a slip and fall case.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">In this basic matter, the plaintiff slipped and fell on ice outside of the defendant’s residence and injured her leg.  After the completion of discovery,  the defendant filed a summary judgment motion arguing that the plaintiff failed to establish that they had any notice of the dangerous condition.  The trial court granted the motion.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Upon appeal, the plaintiff argued that the trial court improperly inserted itself as the fact finder in determining material issues of fact that should have been determined by a jury.  Specifically,  the plaintiff argued that there was contradictory testimony as to whether or not there was any precipitation on the day of the fall, prior to the accident.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court’s decision, explaining that the plaintiff failed to establish that the defendant had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition and relied on mere speculation instead.  The appellate division found that the plaintiff did not provide any evidence as to how long the icy condition existed and could not recall whether there was any precipitation on the evening before the incident.  The plaintiff simply opined that the icy condition may have been a result of a morning dew freeze over.  However, the appellate division held that proof of notice cannot be mere speculation.  Rather, there must be evidence upon which a logical conclusion can be made by the trier of facts.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Thanks to Chelsea Rendelman for her contribution to this post.  Please email <a href="">Georgia Coats</a> with any questions.</p>

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