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Sunday, July 19, 2020

New Premises Liability Case: Summary Judgment for the Defense Upheld on Appeal

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently released its opinion in Chittenden v. BRE/LQ Properties, LLC, No. No. M2019-01990-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. July 15, 2020).  The syllabus from the slip opinion reads:
This is a premises liability action arising from an injury suffered by a guest who slipped on ice in the parking lot of a hotel. The plaintiffs appeal the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to the defendant. Upon a thorough review of the record, we conclude that there is no dispute of material fact and that summary judgment in favor of the defendant was properly granted; accordingly, we affirm.
Here is a link to that opinion:

NOTE: The ice that caused the fall was the result of a snow storm.  See Chittenden v. BRE/LQ Properties, LLC, No. No. M2019-01990-COA-R3-CV, slip op. at 12 (Tenn. Ct. App. July 15, 2020).  While I haven not seen the operative complaint in this case, since it was venued here in Nashville, it probably would have behooved the plaintiffs to have pleaded a negligence per se claim due to a violation of a local code provision, to wit:
     It shall be the duty of every owner or proprietor of any dwelling house, business house or other house abutting on any public street, square or avenue within the fire district to remove or cause to be removed from the sidewalk immediately in front of his premises all snow and ice which may each day accumulate thereon.
The Code of the Metro. Gov't of Nashville and Davidson County, Tenn. § 13.32.040 (2017) (emphasis added), see Shaw v. Metro. Gov't of Nashville & Davidson Cnty., 596 S.W.3d 726, 734–39 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2019) (No Tenn. R. App. P. 11 appeal filed) (discussing when negligence per se applies as to the violation of a municipal code).

Lastly, this slip opinion has been designated as a memorandum opinion and may not be cited or relied upon as authority in any other case.  Chittenden, slip op. at 1, n.1 (citing Tenn. Ct. App. R. 10).  However, this opinion may, obviously, still be used to aid one is doing research on the law of premises liability in Tenn.  


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