Thomas M. Bona, P.C.

Attorneys At Law

Court Finds Placement of Pedestrian Crosswalk Sign Not Dangerous

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 decision granting summary judgment.

One of the interesting things about premises liability cases, commonly known as trip and fall accidents, is that they come in all shapes and sizes, and the plaintiffs will use any available theory at their disposal to attempt to find liability against a property owner. A recent case we defended demonstrates how plaintiffs try to find liability in uncommon situations.

In Cuttitta v. Inserra Supermarkets, Inc. d/b/a ShopRite, plaintiff’s husband drove plaintiff wife to the New City ShopRite, who we defended, and dropped her off at the south entrance to the left side of curb cut. Plaintiff testified at her deposition that when she was dropped off she did not know where the curb cut was. Plaintiff tripped over the curb as soon as she stepped out of the car. Plaintiff testified that she tripped over the curb and there was nothing in the area such as debris or the like. 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. The plaintiff alleged that ShopRite negligently placed a pedestrian crosswalk sign at a place reasonably calculated to create a danger to pedestrians seeking ingress to the store from the parking lot. Plaintiff argued that the placement of the pedestrian crosswalk sign caused her husband to stop next to the curb rather than the curb cut causing her to trip and fall.

We moved for summary judgment. We argued that there was no dangerous or defective condition at the time. We noted that plaintiff did not even recall noticing the pedestrian crosswalk sign on the day of the accident and plaintiff admitted that she did not look down before stepping out of the car. In addition, plaintiff conceded that there was no defect in the curb or debris in the area that may have caused her to fall. The Court granted our motion for summary judgment. The Court found that the plaintiff did not establish that a defective condition existed and that ShopRite had no notice of a defective condition.

The Court found that the placement of the yield to pedestrians and crosswalk sign was placed as a reminder to motorists to slow down and stop for pedestrians that may be walking in the crosswalk, and not as an indication to pedestrians or to drivers dropping off passengers where a curb cut was located.

Clearly, taking an aggressive approach to slip and fall accidents and making summary judgment motions, lets plaintiff attorneys know they will need to prove their case in order to prevail.

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