Brennan Burtker Wins Summary Judgment for Hospital in Premises Liability Case

Brennan Burtker congratulates Jonathan E. Cavins in obtaining summary judgment on behalf of one of the firm’s institutional clients, a prominent local children’s hospital, in a premise liability action. The Plaintiff was an elderly woman who alleged that she sustained severe injuries when she slipped and fell on water while walking through a covered walkway within a parking garage located adjacent to the hospital. The parking garage was not owned by the children’s hospital, but was physically connected to the children’s hospital, as well as another separate hospital by separate skybridges. The Plaintiff filed suit against the owner of the parking garage, the garage management service, the adjacent hospital, and the children’s hospital alleging that each of them owed a duty to Plaintiff to operate and maintain the covered walkway in a safe condition, and to warn the Plaintiff of any unsafe conditions. The Plaintiff claimed that the children’s hospital’s duty arose from a contract for the lease of the area where the skybridge connected the hospital to the parking garage.

Mr. Cavins successfully argued that the children’s hospital owed no duty to the Plaintiff as it did not own, operate, maintain or possess the premises where the Plaintiff fell, including the covered walkway within the garage. Mr. Cavins utilized the documents related to the construction of the covered walkway, as well as the testimony of numerous witnesses who were involved with the management and maintenance of the parking garage, to demonstrate that the covered walkway was constructed several years after the children’s hospital entered into the skybridge leasing agreement and, therefore, was never contemplated by the skybridge leasing agreement. He further established that the children’s hospital was not responsible for the management, maintenance, or cleaning of the covered walkway or any other aspect of the parking garage.