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Hudson v. Boscov's Department Store, L.L.C.

Superior Court of Delaware, Kent

February 1, 2017

CHARLOTTE HUDSON, Plaintiff,
v.
BOSCOV'S DEPARTMENT STORE, L.L.C., a limited liability company, and DOVER MALL LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, a Delaware limited partnership, Defendants.

          Submitted: November 15, 2016

         Upon Consideration of Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment DENIED.

          Nicholas H. Rodriguez, Esquire, Schmittinger & Rodriguez, P.A., Dover, Delaware for Plaintiff.

          Sarah M. Ennis, Esquire, Margolis Edelstein, Wilmington, Delaware for Defendant Boscov's Department Store, L.L.C.

          Kevin J. Connors, Esquire, Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, Wilmington, Delaware for Defendant Dover Mall Limited Partnership.

          ORDER

          Robert B. Young J.

         SUMMARY

         Dover Mall Limited Partnership and Boscov's Department Store, L.L.C. ("Defendants") filed this Motion for Summary Judgment against Charlotte Hudson ("Plaintiff") in an action in which she alleged that she was injured in a slip and fall outside of the Dover Mall Boscov's location. Because Plaintiff's negligence cannot be established at this stage of the proceeding to exceed Defendants', as a matter of law; and because the factual circumstances are insufficiently developed regarding Defendants' post-storm clearing actions to determine Defendants' relief from clearing obligations, Defendants' motion is DENIED.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURE

         Plaintiff alleges that she was injured in a slip and fall, on ice or snow, on February 1, 2013. She asserts her alleged fall occurred outside of the Boscov's location, at the Dover Mall, at 2:14 p.m., as she was returning to her car from the mall.

         On February 1, 2013, snow and freezing rain fell, throughout the day, until 1:22 p.m.[1] The storm cleared by 1:31 p.m.[2] Plaintiff was aware of the presence of snow plows and the weather conditions as she entered the mall. Defendants assert that Plaintiff took the same path back to her vehicle from the Dover Mall, and was, therefore, aware of the alleged surface conditions as she exited the Dover Mall. However, Plaintiff contends that the alleged surface conditions were different when she exited the store. She claims that snow plows moved more snow and ice into her path, before her exit, than existed in her path during her entrance.

         Plaintiff filed her Complaint on January 7, 2014. Defendant Dover Mall Limited Partnership filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment on November 15, 2016. Defendant Boscov's Department Store, L.L.C. joined the instant Motion for Summary Judgment.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Summary judgment is appropriate where the record exhibits no genuine issue of material fact, and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.[3]This Court shall consider the "pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any" in deciding the motion.[4] The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the nonexistence of material issues of fact; the burden then shifts to the nonmoving party to show that there are material issues of fact in dispute.[5] The Court views the record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.[6] When material facts are in dispute, or "it seems desirable to inquire more thoroughly into the facts, to clarify the application of the law to the ...


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