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Kronjak v. New Plaza Management, LLC

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

March 31, 2017

ELEANOR KRONJAK, et al. Appellants
v.
NEW PLAZA MANAGEMENT, LLC, et al. Appellees

         APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CV 2015-07-3574

          RONALD A. APELT, Attorney at Law, for Appellants.

          JAMES L. GLOWACKI and JAMES J. IMRIGIOTTA, Attorneys at Law, for Appellees.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          SCHAFER, JUDGE.

         {¶1} Plaintiffs-Appellants, Eleanor and Michael Kronjak ("the Kronjaks"), appeal the judgment of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas granting Defendant-Appellee, New Plaza Management, LLC's, motion for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

         I.

         {¶2} At approximately 8:15 p.m. on July 19, 2014, Mrs. Kronjak sustained injuries after falling in the parking lot of a restaurant located within a shopping plaza in Northfield, Ohio. The Kronjaks, who frequently dined at this particular restaurant, usually parked in the handicap parking spaces near the restaurant's entrance. On that day, however, all of the handicap parking spaces were taken and the Kronjaks were forced to park in a regular parking space that was further away from the restaurant's entrance.

         {¶3} After they finished eating dinner, the Kronjaks left the restaurant and walked to their car. As Mrs. Kronjak was attempting to enter the front passenger seat of the car unaided, she stepped into an unseen hole that was located "underneath and next to the passenger door of the vehicle." The hole measured approximately five to six inches deep, two to two and a half inches long, and one to one and a half feet wide. Upon stepping into the hole, Mrs. Kronjak fell to the pavement and sustained a fracture to her left wrist and injuries to her left hip and leg.

         {¶4} On July 16, 2015, the Kronjaks filed a complaint in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas asserting a negligence claim against New Plaza Management, LLC. Mr. Kronjak also asserted a claim for loss of services, consortium, and companionship of his wife for a period of time following the incident in question. New Plaza Management, LLC thereafter filed an answer denying the allegations set forth in the Kronjaks' complaint. The matter then proceeded through the discovery process.

         {¶5} On May 5, 2016, New Plaza Management, LLC filed a motion for summary judgment with respect to the Kronjaks' negligence and loss of consortium claims on the basis that the hole in the shopping plaza's parking lot was open and obvious and not an unreasonably dangerous condition. On June 6, 2016, the Kronjaks filed a brief in opposition to New Plaza Management, LLC's motion for summary judgment. On June 17, 2016, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of New Plaza Management, LLC. In so doing, the trial court concluded that the hole in the shopping plaza's parking lot where Mrs. Kronjak fell was an open and obvious danger, thus obviating New Plaza Management, LLC's duty to warn Mrs. Kronjak, an invitee, of hazardous conditions on its premises and barring her negligence claim.

         {¶6} The Kronjaks filed this timely appeal and raise one assignment of error for our review.

         II.

         Assignment of Error

         The trial court erred in granting the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment since genuine issues of material fact existed demonstrating that Defendant breached its duty of care to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition, which breach of duty directly and ...


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