In a slip & fall claim regarding who is responsible for an injured plaintiff located on an “approach” to a store from a common area parking lot, attorneys Barbara Marschalk and John Stevens successfully defended their retail client.
The plaintiff fell about forty-five feet away from the entrace of the storefront, claiming the injury was caused by the defense’s negligence to 1) keep the store premises and approaches safe for invitees, as required under § 51-3-1 and 2) to discharge a duty is voluntarily assumed under to Restatement (Second) of Torts § 324A to protect its invitees from the dangerous conditions in the parking lot of which it had notice. Barbara and John proved that under the circumstances of this case, the plaintiff departed on foot from the store premises, walked across a sidewalk in front of the store, and continued walking away from the store into the common area parking lot to a point 45 feet from the store. As such, she was no longer on a contiguous approach to the store premises when she slipped and fell. Further, Barbara and John argued that there was no showing, under Restatement (Second) of Torts, that their client breached a duty it had voluntarily assumed. The fact that store employees sometimes responded to dangerous conditions on the parking lot did not establish that the store had undertaken to perform a duty owed by the parking lot owner.
The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of their retail client and the Court of Appeals affirmed.