United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
Kimberly A. Jolson Magistrate Judge.
OPINION AND ORDER
A. SARGUS, JR. JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Defendant U-Haul Company of
Massachusetts and Ohio Incorporated's,
("Defendant") Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No.
26). Plaintiff Rebecca Clay ("Plaintiff') has
responded (ECF No. 29) and Defendant has replied (ECF No.
30). Thus, the motion is ripe for review. For the reasons
that follow, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is
GRANTED (ECF No. 26).
owns and rents to customers storage units located at 1921
Riverway Drive, Lancaster, Ohio 43130 (the "Lancaster
Facility"). (Compl. ¶4, ECF No. 4.) Plaintiff has
been Defendant's customer since May 9, 2017, when
Plaintiff began renting a storage unit from Defendant in the
Lancaster Facility. (Id.) This action arises out of
Defendant's alleged negligence in failing "to
provide adequate illumination throughout [Plaintiffs unit],
including but not limited to within the interior of the
unit in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of
its tenants including Plaintiff." (Compl. ¶ 10.)
The Lancaster Facility's Lighting
Lancaster Facility has permanent lighting at the bottom of
the stairs which lead to Plaintiffs unit. (Ferrando Dep.
102:11-14, ECF No. 29-1.) Additionally, there are lights
suspended into the ceiling that are activated by motion
sensors. (Id. at 21:4-8, 59:3-4.) The motion sensors
are activated whenever movement is detected. (Id. at
102:1-22.) "[T]hey are designed to come on as you walk
down the hallway," and "generally, a wave of the
hand will turn [them] on." (Id. at 103:1-5.)
When there is no motion, these lights stay on for about
"[f]ive minutes and a few seconds.". (Id.
at 59:15-21.) The individual storage units have no internal
lighting that a tenant can control. (Id. at 21:1-4.)
Additionally, there are no windows or skylights in the
climate-controlled area. (Id. at 52:14-19.)
customer first rents a unit, one of Defendant's employees
walks the customer to their unit and back. (Id. at
104:7-21.) During this process "the customer can  see
that there are not lights that stay on for 24 hours. They
know that they are on some type of motion detection."
(Id. at 105:20-23.)
General Manager of the facility periodically conducts
walk-around inspections of the Lancaster Facility and
visually inspects the lights. (Id. at 99:22-100:2.)
If a light bulb requires replacement, the General Manager
informs maintenance so that it is addressed. (Id. at
100:3-12.) The General Manager has never seen lights
malfunction in any way during the seven years he has worked
at the facility. (Id. at 98:1-99:10, 100:19-24.)
Plaintiff's Experience Prior to February 5, 2018
used her unit to store equipment for her business. (Clay Dep.
27:16-21, ECF No. 29-1.) She manages a photo booth.
(Id. at 16:11-15.) She kept her storage unit
"pretty full." (Id. at 28:1-3.) Prior to
February 5, 2018, Plaintiff had been to her unit
approximately six times. (Id. at 28:17.) She visited
her unit to "get the items [she] would need for ... the
event," that would use her photo both. (Id. at
28:18-22.) On these six prior occasions her daughter-in-law
had always accompanied her. (Id. at 29:22.)
these visits Plaintiff noticed that the lights did not always
stay on. (Id. at 29:12-13.) She noticed the motion
detection lights would dim and her daughter-in-law had to go
into the hallway to wave her arms. (Id. at
29:15-30:2.) The lights would then come back on.
(Id.) In these moments when the lights would go off
it was "like dusk," and Plaintiff could still see.
(Id. at 30:13-14.) Neither she nor her daughter had
ever fallen on these prior occasions. (Id. At
Plaintiffs Experience on February 5, 2018
February 5, 2018, Plaintiff went to her unit with her son to
gather photo both items for a Valentine's Day dance at a
church. (Id. at 35:1, 12-20.) Plaintiff and her son
moved some items into the hallway, including a table, though
nothing was blocking her walking path within the storage
unit. (Id. at 38:20-23, 43:4-9.) After her ...