Thomas M. Bona, P.C.

Attorneys At Law

Yield To Pedestrian Sign Does Not Create Enhanced Duty For Store

As part of our continuing commitment to provide outstanding representation and to serve as an information resource, we wish to inform you of a recent case concerning liability arising from signs in shopping center parking lots.


There are no shortage of cases where plaintiffs are injured in parking lots of stores. Usually, these occur because of issues with pavement or defects in the parking lot, and others can occur for any number of reasons.  A recent case that we defended demonstrates how the non-routine parking lot case can be successfully defended.  In Cuttitta v. Inserra Supermarkets, plaintiff’s husband drove plaintiff on the day of the accident to the New City ShopRite and dropped her off at the south entrance to the left of the curb cut.  Plaintiff testified that when she was dropped off, she did not know where the curb cut was and that she tripped over the curb as soon as she stepped out of the car.  Plaintiff testified that she tripped over the curb and that there was nothing else in the area, “no debris, holes or anything like that”. 


Plaintiff commenced suit, alleging that she stepped out of the vehicle just before the crosswalk warning sign believing it was close to the curb cut as it had been on prior occasions.  Plaintiff alleged that ShopRite negligently placed the pedestrian crosswalk sign in a place calculated to create a danger to pedestrians seeking to enter and exit the store from the parking lot.  Plaintiff argued that the placement of the motor vehicle caution sign caused her husband to stop the car next to the curb rather than the curb cut which caused her to fall.


ShopRite moved for summary judgment arguing that there was no dangerous or defective condition and that the plaintiff had failed to raise any triable issue of fact.  The Court granted the motion for summary judgment.  The Court found that the placement of the “yield to pedestrians” and “Cross Walk” signs were placed as a reminder for motorists to slow down and to stop, not as an indication to pedestrian or drivers dropping off passengers where the curb was located.  In this case, the Court found that the plaintiff did not even recall noticing the pedestrian crosswalk sign on the day of the accident and admitted that she did not look down before stepping out of the car.  Critically, the plaintiff testified that there was no defect in the curb or debris in the area that may have caused her to fall.

The Court found the defendants had established that there was no dangerous or defective condition on the premises at the date of the accident and that the defendants did not have any notice of any defect and thus dismissed the complaint.


In every trip and fall case, it is critical to carefully analyze the plaintiff’s deposition testimony to determine if it will support a motion for summary judgment.  Here, the plaintiff’s own testimony supported our motion that her fall was not caused by any defect in ShopRite’s parking lot.


Should you have any questions, please call.

Thomas M. Bona