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Russum v. IPM Development Partnership LLC

Superior Court of Delaware, Kent

September 18, 2014

DOROTHY M. RUSSUM, Plaintiff,
v.
IPM DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, BIG LOTS STORES, INC., an unregistered entity, and SILICATO COMMERCIAL REALTY, INC., a Delaware corporation, Defendants/Third Party Plaintiffs,
v.
KENT LANDSCAPING, LLC, Third Party Defendant.

Submitted: July 21, 2014

Upon Consideration of Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment

William D. Fletcher, Esquire, Schmittinger & Rodriguez, P.A., Dover, Delaware for Plaintiff.

Christopher T. Logullo, Esquire, Chrissinger & Baumberger, Wilmington, Delaware for Defendants IPM and Silicato.

David J. Soldo, Esquire, Morris James, LLP, Wilmington, Delaware for Defendant Big Lots Stores, Inc.

ORDER

YOUNG, J.

SUMMARY

Dorothy M. Russum ("Plaintiff") seeks damages against IPM Development Partnership, LLC, Silicato Commercial Realty, and Big Lots Stores, Inc. ("Defendants") in a personal injury negligence action, arising out of injuries sustained by Plaintiff while on the premises of Defendants' business. Defendants move for summary judgment pursuant to Superior Court Civil Rule 56, arguing that Plaintiff has failed to provide proof of essential elements of her claim. The Court is satisfied that Plaintiff, through her deposition and expert report, has met her burden of proof and that material issues of fact are in dispute. Thus, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED.

FACTS AND PROCEDURES

On April 21, 2011, Plaintiff sustained injuries resulting from a slip and fall accident while on Defendants' business premises. On March 18, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Complaint against Defendants seeking damages stemming from her injuries.

Plaintiff alleges that, while attempting to enter Defendants' retail store, she felt something under her foot, causing her to fall. Directly in front of Defendants' store and leading up to its entrance is a sloped ramp. During Plaintiff's May 14, 2014 deposition, she indicated that it was in the general area of this sloped ramp that her accident occurred. However, Plaintiff was unable to identify precisely what it was she felt under her feet, causing her to fall.

On June 10, 2014, Plaintiff's and Defendants' counsel attended a site inspection conducted by Ronald Cohen, a certified engineer retained by Plaintiff. Mr. Cohen rendered a copy of his findings on July 15, 2014, in which he concludes that the sloped ramp in front of Defendants' store caused Plaintiff to fall and sustain injuries.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is granted upon showing that there is no genuine issue of material fact, where the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.[1]The Court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party.[2] The moving party bears the burden of showing that no material issues of fact are present, but once a motion is supported by such a showing, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to demonstrate that there is a genuine dispute as to material issues of fact.[3] In the alternative, where the non-moving party bears the ultimate burden of proof at trial, the moving party succeeds on her motion for summary judgment by ...


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