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Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Trial Court's Dismissal of Case Against Truck Stop Reversed on Appeal Because Trial Court Misapplied Standard of Review in Granting Truck Stop's Motion to Dismiss

On Nov. 5, 2018, the Tennessee Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Mershon v. HPT TA Properties Trust, No. M2018-00315-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Nov. 5, 2018).  The syllabus from the slip opinion reads as follows:
A motor vehicle accident on the roadway abutting a truck stop resulted in the death of the plaintiff’s husband. The driver of the vehicle turning left into the truck stop was using the entrance meant for semi-trailer trucks and had a limited view of oncoming traffic due to a hill that crested a short distance ahead. The plaintiff filed a negligence claim against the truck stop owners and operators, asserting they created a hazardous condition by failing to place visible signage on their property directing passenger vehicles to the appropriate entrance. The defendants moved to dismiss the complaint, contending they owed no duty to the traveling public because the collision occurred on a municipal road, not on their property. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss, and the plaintiff appealed. We reverse the trial court’s judgment, holding that a balancing test is required to determine whether the defendants owed a duty to the plaintiff’s husband and that dismissing the complaint is premature at this stage of the proceedings.
Here is a link to the slip opinion:

NOTE: This is an excellent opinion that discusses the standard of review to be applied for motions to dismiss and when a duty of care arises.  This is a must-read opinion for attorneys who are interested in these two matters.  

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