Home Depot was recently successful in arguing for summary judgment in a premises liability case that involved an incident in one of their parking lots. They used the defense of an “open and obvious danger,” which we have blogged about in the past and which was probably applied correctly in the case. In Ramsey v. Home Depot, 38 Fla. L. Weekly D2245 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013), the plaintiff was injured when she tripped over a wheel stop at the top of a parking space where her car was located. The plaintiff sued Home Depot for failing to maintain their premises in a safe condition and failure to warn of a dangerous condition. Home Depot filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that the wheel stop was an open and obvious danger and that as a result, Home Depot had no duty to warn the plaintiff of the wheel stop and were not responsible for her injuries.
Both the plaintiff and Home Depot submitted affidavits to the Court from their experts regarding the parking space and whether it met certain standards. The Court agreed with Home Depot and found that a wheel stop placed in the center of a parking space that is clearly visible presents no unreasonable risk and is an open and obvious danger to patrons. The Court found that the wheel stop was concrete and contrasted with the asphalt parking lot surface and there were no design defects. The Court also found that this was not a situation where the wheel stop was located in a fire lane or where the wheel stop was not centered between parking spaces or was broken. Further, because the accident happened on a clear day with sufficient lighting and the plaintiff admitted that she was not looking where she was walking, the fact that the plaintiff did not see the wheel stop did not make the wheel stop a dangerous condition. Premises liability cases often turn on the specific facts of each case and if you’ve been injured in an a premises liability case, call Givens Givens Sparks for a free case evaluation of your specific incident and holding the at-fault party responsible.