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December 2022

Gordon Phoenix Team Prevails on Summary Judgment for National Hotelier Client in Premises Liability Case

Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani partner Jill J. Ormond and associate Steven D. Crocchi prevailed on a summary judgment motion on behalf of a national hotelier in a premises liability action.

The plaintiff was attending a company event when he left the hotel property to return to a different hotel he was staying at down the road. The plaintiff left the hotel property at 2:30 a.m. on a company-provided scooter and was riding unhelmeted down a dark road. He hit a pothole, fell shortly after leaving the hotel property, and suffered severe injuries. The plaintiff sued the hotel, arguing that the hotel had a duty to maintain the roadway and warn of the pothole.

In filing their motion for summary judgment, the Gordon & Rees team argued that the hotel owed no duty to the plaintiff because the injury occurred off property, and the hotel did not own or control the subject roadway. The plaintiff argued that the hotel was required to provide a safe means of ingress and egress and that even though the injury occurred off-property, the hotel owed him a duty as a business invitee to warn him of the pothole because it was on the only road leading to or from the hotel.

The Gordon & Rees team argued that in cases where a business’s duty extended to off-property injuries, the plaintiffs alleged that the business’s failure to maintain its property caused the off-property injury, and the plaintiff, in this case, did not allege that the hotel failed to maintain its property. 

At oral argument, the trial court granted the hotel’s motion for summary judgment from the bench, finding that the hotel had no duty to maintain the roadway where the plaintiff was injured and had no duty to warn of the pothole (the alleged dangerous condition) because the hotel did not create the alleged dangerous condition. 

The trial court dismissed all of the plaintiff’s claims and entered judgment in the hotel’s favor. Thereafter, the plaintiff filed a motion for a new trial raising the same arguments he raised in response to the motion for summary judgment. The trial court denied the motion.

Jill J. Ormond