SC: October 2016 Monthly Summaries of Published Opinions from Supreme Court of Ky

Here are the October 2016 summaries of published decisions and attorney disciplinary orders from the Supreme Court of Kentucky which have been prepared by the Administrative Office of the Courts.  Click here for the AOC Indexed Summaries by year and month.  Click here for the Kentucky Court Reports index of each month’s summary by year and month.

PREMISES LIABILITY, SLIP AND FALL (MCINTOSH REVISITED)

Ralph M. Goodwin v. Al J. Schneider Company D/B/A Galt House & Galt House East 

2015-SC-000380-DG October 20, 2016 

Opinion of the Court by Justice Keller. All sitting. Minton, C.J.; Hughes, Noble, and Wright, JJ., concur. Venters, J., concurs in result only. Cunningham, J., dissents without opinion. Mr. Goodwin, who was staying with his wife at the Galt House, slipped and fell while getting into the shower. Goodwin filed suit alleging that the Galt House failed to warn of the dangerously slippery condition and/or to take reasonable care to eliminate the condition by, in pertinent part, providing a bathmat. The Galt House moved for summary judgment arguing that it was not an insurer of Goodwin’s safety and that he had failed to exercise ordinary care to prevent his injury from an open and obvious condition. The circuit court granted the Galt House’s motion and Goodwin appealed to the Court of Appeals, which affirmed.

The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals. In doing so, the Court noted the evolution of the law regarding the “open and obvious” affirmative defense that began with Kentucky River Medical Center v. McIntosh, 319 S.W.3d 385 (Ky. 2010) and continued through Shelton v. Kentucky Easter Seals Society, Inc., 43 S.W.3d 901 (Ky. 2013) and Carter v. Bullitt Host, LLC, 471 S.W.3d 288 (Ky. 2015). After summarizing the preceding cases, the Court held that “a landowner has a duty to take reasonable steps to eliminate unreasonably dangerous conditions on its land. The question for the court on summary judgment is whether the landowner breached that duty, a duty that exists whether the conditions are open and obvious or hidden. Thus, in determining whether the landowner has breached that duty, the court does not look to whether the conditions were open and obvious but to whether the landowner took reasonable steps to eliminate the risks created by the conditions.” Applying the preceding to the Galt House, the Court noted that the circuit court, in granting summary judgment, and Court of Appeals, in affirming, focused on a lack of industry standards setting forth a duty to provide bathmats. The Court held that the issue was not whether the Galt House had a duty to provide bathmats but whether the failure to provide bathmats breached the Galt House’s duty of care.

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