Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
Cavitch, Familo & Durkin Co., L.P.A, Komlavi Atsou,
Spencer E. Krebs, and Cory J. Martinson, for appellant
M. Mallamad, for appellee.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
A. JONES, SR., JUDGE.
1} Plaintiff-appellant, Fatiha Hopkins ("Hopkins"),
appeals the trial court's decision granting summary
judgment in favor of defendant-appellee, Greater Cleveland
Regional Transit Authority ("RTA"). For the reasons
that follow, we affirm.
2} Hopkins filed suit against RTA alleging that it was liable
to her as the result of a slip and fall on an RTA bus. RTA
moved for summary judgment and the matter proceeded to a
hearing on RTAs motion. The court subsequently granted RTAs
motion for summary judgment, with a written opinion, finding
that there were no genuine issues of material fact precluding
3} On March 3, 2017, Hopkins walked from work to the RTA bus
stop at East 93rd Street and Euclid Avenue. Hopkins said that
it was "raining a little bit" during her walk and
the ground was wet. Hopkins boarded the bus, but did not
remember whether the steps were wet when she boarded. Hopkins
likewise could not remember if the bus floor was wet when she
paid her fare or when she walked to her seat. She testified
that nothing prevented her from looking down at the floor to
assess its condition; she just "didn't look
down." She also did not notice the wet floor during the
15 - 20 minute bus ride. She testified that she
"didn't pay attention to" the bus floor.
4} As the bus approached her stop, but prior to the bus
stopping, Hopkins rose from her seat and walked toward the
front of the bus. As Hopkins walked to the bus door, she
slipped and fell and sustained injuries.
5} RTA buses are equipped with mobile video system CCTV
cameras and digital recorders. The cameras are stationary and
positioned in eight locations, capturing views of the
interior and exterior perimeter of the bus. The surveillance
video that was submitted into evidence showed that there was
patchy snow on the ground outside. The floor near the front
of the bus appears wet, but there is no visible accumulation
of water, such as a puddle.
6} David Coleman testified at deposition that he was the
second driver of the bus on the day in question. As a
replacement driver, he was not required to conduct a full
precheck inspection of the bus. Coleman initially testified
that he did not see the wet floor in his bus on the day
Hopkins fell. He knew, however, that the floor was wet
"because of the weather." He assumed his passengers
would see the wet floor themselves, but if he had seen water
on the floor that appeared unsafe, "I would tell my
7} After viewing the video of the incident during his
deposition, Coleman clarified that when he got on the bus to
relieve the other driver, he looked "up and down"
the bus to inspect it and did not see anything wrong. He
could see from the video, however, that the bus floor was
wet. He further testified that he often tells his passengers
to stay seated until he stops, "but they don't
listen." He did not tell Hopkins on the day of the
accident to "stay seated" because he did not see
her walking to the front of the bus before he stopped the
bus. In his opinion, Hopkins would not have slipped and fell
even though the floor was wet if she had waited until he
stopped to get up from her seat. Finally, Coleman testified
that he did not warn passengers of the wet floor because he
did not consider the wet floor an unsafe condition:
"It's normal * * * [p]eople are going to track snow
in and it's going to melt and it's going to set in
between [the grooves] on the floor."
trial court erred by ruling that the open and obvious
doctrine discharges Greater Cleveland Regional Transit
Authority ("RTA" or "GCRTA"), a common
carrier, from its duty to remove and/or warn
Plaintiff-Appellant, Fatiha Hopkins ("Hopkins"), a
passenger, of dangerous conditions known to RTA.
trial court erred in granting RTAs Motion for Summary
Judgment on Hopkins's claim for negligence because there
was a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether ...