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Mar 2012

Jack Coakley and Susan Devlin were recently awarded summary judgment on behalf of a property owner in a Superior Court negligence/premises liability case.  The plaintiff had claimed that she fell and was injured due to a defective floor mat on the interior of the defendant’s premises.  The removable mat was of the type commonly placed at the entrances of commercial premises after snow or rain storms.  The alleged defect in the mat was “unevenness” on the surface of the floor mat.  Jack and Susan were able to secure summary judgment by  showing that the plaintiff had no evidence and was unlikely to present evidence at trial that (1) any defect existed with respect to the floor mat and (2) even assuming a defect had existed, the defendant property owner created the defect, knew of the defect or should have known of the defect.  At her deposition, the plaintiff testified that she did not make any observations with respect to the floor mat prior to her fall.  She also had not  noted any defects in that or any other floor mat at the premises during prior visits to the premises.  The property owner, for its part, attested to not having notice of any defective condition prior to the incident.  Furthermore, the plaintiff described a hard impact on the mat with multiple points of contact, which suggested that any bumps or unevenness in the floor mat that she observed after the loss were caused by the plaintiff’s fall and were not the cause of the plaintiff’s fall.  On this record, the Superior Court granted summary judgment. 

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