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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Condo manager defeats lawsuit over stone that fell on boy

State Court

By William Sassani | Dec 4, 2019


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Legal Newsline) – The Maryland Court of Special Appeals has affirmed a lower court’s ruling of summary judgment for Summit Management Inc. in negligence case over a child's injuries.

“Appellants failed to establish a prima facie case of negligence because the record reflects that appellees did not have actual or constructive knowledge of any dangerous or defective condition,” Judge Andrea M. Leahy wrote in the 43-page ruling issued Nov. 21.

Appellant Damien Macias, who was 8 at the time, and two other siblings were visiting their grandparents with their mother in 2013. The grandparents lived at the Waters House Condominium complex, which is owned by Summit Management. The ruling states the children were playing outside on a community sign and held on the edge of a flat stone when attempting to dismount.

This stone dislodged, causing Damien and his siblings to fall and the stone to land on Damien. The boy “suffered serious injuries to his chest and legs” which required that he be sent to the hospital for treatment, the ruling states.

Acting as next friend, Damien’s father sued Summit Management in Montgomery County Circuit Court in 2017. After that court ruled in favor of Summit, Damien and his father petitioned the Court of Special Appeals.

"Because there is no basis in the record here for concluding that appellees should have known that the flat stone sign was likely to fall from its framework, or that they could have discovered such a defect through the use of reasonable care, a jury would not have been able to infer that Damien’s accident could have been prevented through appellees’ use of reasonable care,” Leahy wrote.

Leahy disagreed with the Circuit Court’s determination that Damien was a bare licensee. Rather, the judge said that Damien was an invitee.

"Accordingly, we hold that the record before the trial court supported granting summary judgment in favor of appellees because, at the close of discovery, appellants had adduced no evidence that appellees had any actual or constructive notice of any dangerous condition," Leahy wrote.

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