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Fletcher v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Lorain

March 31, 2017

BONNIE FLETCHER Appellant
v.
WAL-MART STORES, INC. Appellee

         APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 14CV184773

          MARK I. VERKHLIN and JEFFREY H. FRIEDMAN, Attorneys at Law, for Appellant.

          JESSICA L. SANDERSON and PEGGY FOLEY JONES, Attorneys at Law, for Appellee.

          ERIC J. WILLIAMS, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          JULIE A. SCHAFER Judge.

         {¶1} Plaintiff-Appellant, Bonnie Fletcher, appeals the judgment of the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas granting summary judgment in favor of Defendant-Appellee, Wal-Mart Stores East, LP ("Wal-Mart"). For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

         I.

         {¶2} The facts of this case are not in dispute. On July 12, 2013, Ms. Fletcher sustained injuries after falling in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart store located in Elyria, Ohio. At the time of her fall, Ms. Fletcher was traversing through the parking lot, walking from her car and towards the store entrance. Ms. Fletcher was not looking down at the ground while walking, but instead was watching for traffic and other customers. As she proceeded through the parking lot, Fletcher stubbed her toe and tripped on a patch of cracked and crumbling concrete and fell to the ground. Ultimately, Ms. Fletcher was taken by ambulance to the hospital where she was treated for her injuries.

         {¶3} On October 20, 2014, Ms. Fletcher filed a complaint in the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas asserting a negligence claim against Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart denied the allegations set forth in Fletcher's complaint and subsequently filed a third-party complaint against third-party defendant Moyer Industries, Inc. ("Moyer") seeking indemnification and/or contribution if Wal-Mart was ultimately found to be liable for Fletcher's injuries. Moyer denied the allegations asserted in Wal-Mart's third-party complaint. The matter then proceeded through the discovery process.

         {¶4} On January 4, 2016, Wal-Mart filed a motion for summary judgment on Ms. Fletcher's negligence claim on the basis that the concrete area where Ms. Fletcher fell was open and obvious and not an unreasonably dangerous condition. Moyer also filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that since Wal-Mart is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, Wal-Mart's third-party complaint must be dismissed. On February 12, 2016, Fletcher filed briefs in opposition to Wal-Mart and Moyer's respective motions for summary judgment. Wal-Mart also filed an opposition brief in response to Moyer's summary judgment motion. On March 16, 2016, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Wal-Mart and Moyer. In so doing, the trial court concluded that the portion of the concrete parking lot where Ms. Fletcher tripped and fell was an open and obvious danger, thus obviating Wal-Mart's duty to warn Ms. Fletcher, an invitee, of hazardous conditions on its premises and barring her negligence claim.

         {¶5} Ms. Fletcher filed this timely appeal and raises one assignment of error for this Court's review.

         II.

         Assignment of Error

         The trial court erred in granting Appellees' motions for summary judgment as there are ...


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