Judge Farmer’s Iterations on Foreseeability in Slip & Fall Case

Unlike foreseeability in the context of duty, foreseeability in the context of proximate cause is a question of fact to be determined by the trier of fact.  Id. (citing City of Elizabethton v. Sluder, 534 S.W.2d 115 (Tenn. 1976)).  Additionally, in order to be entitled to summary judgment, the moving party must either (1) affirmatively negate an essential element of the nonmoving party’s claim; or (2) show that the nonmoving party cannot prove an essential element at trial.  Hannan v. Alltel Publ’g Co., 270 S.W.3d 1, 8–9 (Tenn. 2008).  Under Hannan, it is not sufficient that a party moving for summary judgment assert that the nonmoving party “lacks evidence to prove an essential element of its claim.”  Id. at 8.  In this case, whether the hole or dip or depression, as it has been alternately characterized by the parties, in fact caused Ms. Dickerson to fall; whether the harm and injury to Ms. Dickerson were reasonably foreseeable; and whether the County’s conduct was a substantial factor in causing Ms. Dickerson’s injury are properly within the province of the finder of fact.

Jamie Dickson, et al. v. Rutherford Co., Tenn., Case No. M2012-01916-COA-R3-CV (April 11, 2013).

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