Articles Posted in Premises Liability – Other

rollercoasterNorth Carolina officials are issuing a moratorium on Fire Ball rides. One was used in Charlotte at the Carolina Fair at Park Expo weeks ago. On the Fire Ball, riders are swung up 40 feet and spun around at 13 revolutions per minute.

The ride had been inspected and was certified for the Charlotte location. Our Raleigh injury lawyers know that amusement park rides in North Carolina are supposed to be inspected every time they’re assembled. Recently, however, somebody died and seven were injured when one of these rides malfunctioned at the Ohio State Fair.

The Fire Ball malfunction resulted in people being thrown from the carnival ride. The riders who were injured included a 14-year-old boy, an 18-year-old girl, a 19-year-old man, and others who were older. Ohio’s governor ordered the rides to be shut down pending safety inspections. All of the rides are to stay closed until each attraction can be inspected.

hardwareIn Williams v. Advance Auto Parts, the North Carolina plaintiff appealed two orders that granted summary judgment to the defendants in a trip and fall case. He argued that the court should have allowed him to amend his complaint to name the correct defendant.

The case arose in 2012 when the plaintiff tripped and fell inside an auto parts store. He submitted his claim for injuries to the third-party administrator that administered the liability policy for the store. In a letter, the third-party administrator named its insured as the auto parts store and denied that the insured was negligent.

The plaintiff sued the defendant in October 2015, naming it incorrectly. In December, the plaintiff filed a notice to amend the complaint, providing a second name for the owner of the store. Civil summons were directed to both of the possible names.

Continue reading

wheelchairIn some cases, a slip and fall or another accident takes place on government property, such as a school or a public park. Although private landowners are usually required to keep their property reasonably free of dangers for lawful visitors or else provide warnings, different rules apply when the property owner is a local or state government entity. The doctrine of sovereign immunity shields governmental entities from being sued for their negligence, even if they are clearly at fault, except when the entity has waived its immunity from suit.

The North Carolina Tort Claims Act provides the exceptions to sovereign immunity from tort claims. It allows recovery for injuries caused by the negligence of state officers, employees, or agents who are acting within the scope of their duties in situations that would make the state liable if it were a private individual. However, the Tort Claims Act doesn’t waive immunity for a state employee’s intentional misconduct. Moreover, as with lawsuits against private individuals, a plaintiff’s contributory negligence completely bars his ability to recover damages.

Governmental immunity shields local governments, such as cities, from injuries caused by employees in the scope of their duties when they are performing “governmental functions.” However, it doesn’t protect local governments from tort claims based on an employee’s performance of proprietary functions. Factors that may show whether a governmental actor was acting in the scope of proprietary or governmental powers include whether the activity was one typically provided by a particular entity, if the actions were ones in which only a governmental entity could engage, whether a substantial fee had been charged, and whether a profit had been turned.

Continue reading

churchIn Thompson v. Evergreen Baptist Church, a North Carolina appellate court considered a premises liability case involving a church. The case arose when the plaintiff, a member of a Baptist church for 34 years whose family were also lifelong members, suffered a fall at the church. Her husband was the chairman of the building and grounds committee, as well as the chairman of the deacons of the defendant. The committee was responsible for installing rails at the doors and steps.

In 2012, the plaintiff was at church in the choir loft. While walking down the stairs after a service, she fell and suffered injuries. She sued the church, claiming that the injury was the direct and legal result of the defendant’s negligence and seeking damages. She argued that there weren’t any rails on the steps where she fell, although her husband had acknowledged there were plans to put them up on the steps before his wife fell.

The church answered, arguing that it was not negligent and that the condition of the stairs was open and obvious. It also argued that the plaintiff had contributed to her own fall and that there was an alternative, safer way down to the first floor. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss and a motion for summary judgment. The trial court granted summary judgment.

Continue reading

parking lotIn Blackmon v. Tri-Arc Foot Systems, a North Carolina court considered a plaintiff’s claim for damages based on negligence in designing and maintaining a parking lot. The plaintiff was age 37, working as a third shift employee for Talecris Plasma Resources. After his shift ended shortly before 8 a.m., he went to a Bojangles fast food restaurant. The restaurant had a lot with marked parking spaces for customer use, but the plaintiff didn’t park in those spaces but instead parked in front of the restaurant along the curb of the driveway.

The plaintiff later testified that he parked there because he was driving a 22-foot-long crew cab truck that wouldn’t fit in the marked spots. He wanted to be able to see the truck while eating. He’d previously parked there many times, and the defendant’s employees and manager knew that customers sometimes parked there. However, about two years before, another vehicle parked there had been rear-ended.

The plaintiff came out of the restaurant and saw that his rear taillight had been damaged, and another truck in the lot had corresponding damage. He got help from a police officer eating inside. The officer asked the plaintiff to stand behind his truck while he took down his information.

Continue reading