Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Taylor v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

December 27, 2018

LISA TAYLOR
v.
CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL, INC., LAURICELLA LAND COMPANY, LLC, ELMWOOD VILLAGE CENTER, LLC, LAURICELLA & ASSOCIATES, INC., ELMWOOD RETAIL PROPERTIES, LLC AND TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANY

          ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 740-330, DIVISION "M" HONORABLE HENRY G. SULLIVAN, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, LISA TAYLOR DAVID I. COURCELLE, SCOTT C. STANSBURY, BERNARD A. DUPUY

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL, INC., LAURICELLA LAND COMPANY, LLC, ELMWOOD VILLAGE CENTER, LLC, LAURICELLA & ASSOCIATES, INC., ELMWOOD RETAIL PROPERTIES, LLC AND TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANY STEPHANIE MCLAUGHLIN

          Panel composed of Judges Jude G. Gravois, Marc E. Johnson, and John J. Molaison, Jr.

          JUDE G. GRAVOIS, JUDGE

         In this trip and fall case, plaintiff, Lisa Taylor, appeals a summary judgment granted in favor of defendants, Lauricella Land Company, LLC, Lauricella & Associates, Inc., Elmwood Village Center, LLC, Elmwood Retail Properties, LLC, and Travelers Property Casualty Company of America ("defendants"), dismissing her suit with prejudice. In her petition for damages, Ms. Taylor alleged that she sustained injuries after she tripped and fell on an expansion joint in the concrete parking lot adjacent to the Chipotle restaurant belonging to Chipotle Mexican Grill of Colorado, L.L.C. ("Chipotle") on Clearview Parkway in Elmwood, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. On appeal, Ms. Taylor argues that the trial court erred in granting judgment in favor of defendants, contending that genuine issues of material fact remain outstanding regarding whether the expansion joint was unreasonably dangerous or open and obvious. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On July 16, 2013, Ms. Taylor was on her way home to Avondale from her workplace in Metairie when she decided to stop at the Chipotle restaurant to pick up dinner to bring home. She testified in her deposition that she had stopped at this particular Chipotle restaurant a couple of times before to pick up food. After she parked her car, Ms. Taylor traversed the parking lot to the entrance of the Chipotle restaurant, but as she walked by the handicapped parking space, she stepped on an expansion joint in the parking lot, which caused her wedge shoe to tip sideways. Ms. Taylor tripped and fell, breaking her arm, as well as sustaining bruises and scrapes to her leg. Her injuries were treated that evening at a hospital. Ms. Taylor's arm required surgery to repair two broken bones with a plate and screws.

         Ms. Taylor filed suit against defendants and Chipotle on July 15, 2014, alleging that the expansion joint that she tripped upon was a defect in the parking lot that was unreasonably dangerous to pedestrians.

         After discovery was conducted, defendant Chipotle moved for summary judgment on the basis that it had no legal or contractual responsibility to maintain the parking lot where the accident occurred. Chipotle's motion for summary judgment was granted, dismissing it from the case with prejudice. This judgment was not appealed and is final.

         The remaining defendants moved for summary judgment on July 20, 2017, alleging that the expansion joint in question did not pose an unreasonable risk to pedestrians as a matter of law because the depth and measurements of the joint complied with relevant safety codes, as determined by defendants' expert, William Argus, AIA, an architect, following an inspection of the expansion joint. Defendants supported their motion for summary judgment with Ms. Taylor's deposition, the expert report of Mr. Argus, as well as photos of the parking lot and the expansion joint. Defendants further argued that the expansion joint was open and obvious, and thus did not pose an unreasonable risk of harm to pedestrians.

         Ms. Taylor opposed defendants' motion for summary judgment, supporting her contention that the expansion joint was unreasonably dangerous with the report of her expert witness, Ladd P. Ehlinger, AIA, also an architect.

         The matter was heard on November 28, 2017, after which the trial court took the matter under advisement. The trial court rendered a written judgment on December 13, 2017, granting summary judgment in favor of all remaining defendants and dismissing Ms. Taylor's suit with prejudice. The trial court did not issue reasons for judgment. This timely appeal followed.

         On appeal, Ms. Taylor argues that genuine issues of material fact remain outstanding regarding whether the expansion joint she tripped on was unreasonably dangerous, noting that her expert concluded that the depth of the expansion joint exceeded permissible values as found in relevant building and construction codes. She also notes the discrepancies in the measurements of the joint contained in the parties' experts' reports. She also argues that a material issue of fact remains as to whether the expansion joint was open and obvious, because the fact of the elevation differences was not apparent unless inspected at close range.

         ANALYSIS

         After an opportunity for adequate discovery, a motion for summary judgment shall be granted if the motion, memorandum, and supporting documents show that there is no genuine issue as to material fact and that the mover is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. La. C.C.P. art. 966(A)(3). A fact is material if it potentially insures or precludes recovery, affects a litigant's ultimate success, or determines the outcome of the legal dispute. A genuine issue of material fact is one as to which reasonable persons could disagree; if reasonable persons could reach only one ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.