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Shaw and Cravener Prevail in Premises Liability Suit


Eastman & Smith Ltd. member Mark A. Shaw and associate Garrett M. Cravener were awarded summary judgment in a premises liability action before the Fairfield County Common Pleas Court. The case involved the plaintiff's allegation that she slipped and fell on ice located on the premises of the defendant's place of business. The plaintiff argued that the defendant breached its duty of care owed to her as a business invitee by allowing the ice to remain on its premises. Mr. Shaw and Mr. Cravener, who represented the defendant, filed a motion for summary judgment with the Court. They contended that as a matter of law, premises owners generally have no duty to protect business invitees against dangers which are open and obvious, including natural accumulations of ice and snow. They further demonstrated the defendant (1) did not possess superior knowledge of any conditions substantially more dangerous than should have been anticipated by the plaintiff and (2) did not actively engage in negligent conduct which would have created an unnatural accumulation of ice. The Court found no genuine issue of material fact existed and granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant premises owner.