In the recent case of Greg Parker, et al. v. Holiday Hospitality Franchising, Inc., et al., the Tennessee Court of Appeals addressed liability for a premise owner arising out of the negligent work completed by an independent contractor. This case was appealed from the Circuit Court for Roane County following summary judgment in favor of the hotel.
Rule – a premise owner may not be liable for negligent construction of the premises unless he or she caused the condition or had some notice of the condition prior to the accident. Continue reading
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).