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OPAL FOLDES v. HANCOCK BANK

DECEMBER 06, 1989

OPAL FOLDES
v.
HANCOCK BANK



BEFORE ROY NOBLE LEE, PRATHER and SULLIVAN

ROY NOBLE LEE, CHIEF JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

Opal Foldes filed suit in the Circuit Court of Harrison County, Mississippi, against the Hancock Bank (Bank) seeking damages for personal injuries alleged to have been sustained on the Bank's property when she tripped/slipped and fell while making a deposit in the night depository box. At the completion of discovery, the lower court sustained the Bank's motion for summary judgment, and Mrs. Foldes has appealed to this Court.

Facts

 In April, 1984, appellant worked at the Holiday Inn in Biloxi as a night auditor. On April 12, she got off work at 7:00 a.m., and, having received her paycheck that morning, she stopped at the Mississippi City branch of the Hancock Bank to deposit her check in the night depository.

 The night depository is situated on the side of the bank where customers can park directly in front of it, get out and make their deposits. Foldes parked, exited her car and walked toward the depository. There was a yellow curb several inches high which separates the parking lot and the area nearest the building. On the other side of the curb was a concrete slab which extends for about two (2) feet from the building towards the parking lot and was directly under the night depository. The concrete slab was about an inch and a half or two inches lower than the top of the curb. Between the curb and the concrete slab was about a two or three inch space where the slab did not quite meet the curb. Near the night deposit was a window unit air conditioner, which was running with water dripping onto the concrete slab. There was also" green stuff "or algae which had collected on the slab.

 Appellant fell, claiming that the unsafe condition of the curb and walk caused her to trip/slip, and sustain personal injuries.

 Issue

 The sole error assigned on this appeal is that the lower court erred in sustaining appellee's motion for summary judgment.

 The principle is now elementary that, on motion for summary judgment, the evidence is viewed in the light most favorable to the non-movant and that party is given the benefit of every reasonable doubt as to whether or not a genuine issue of fact exists. If such occurs, then the motion for summary judgment must be denied. Brown v. Credit Center, Inc., 444 So. 2d 358 (Miss. 1983).

 In Clark v. Moore Memorial United Methodist Church, 538 So. 2d 760 (Miss. 1989), in discussing grants and denials of summary judgments, the Court said:

 This Court conducts de novo review of a lower court's grant of summary judgment. Pearl River County Bd. of Supervisors v. South East Collections Agency, Inc., 459 So. 2d 783, 785 (Miss. 1984)." The general standard that an appellate court

 applies in reviewing the grant or denial of a summary judgment motion is the same as that employed by the trial court initially under Rule 56 (c). "10 Wright, Miller and Kane Federal Practice and Procedure 2716 (1983 and Supp. 1988).

 The law governing the grant or denial of a motion for summary judgment is familiar and well established. Fruchter v. Lynch Oil Co., 522 So. 2d 195, 198 (Miss. 1988). In Dennis v. Searle, 457 So. 2d 941 (Miss. 1984) we explained:

 The trial court must review carefully all of the evidentiary matters before it-admissions in pleadings, answers to interrogatories, depositions, affidavits, etc. The evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the party against whom the motion has been made. If, in this view the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, summary judgment should forthwith be entered in his favor. Otherwise, the motion should be denied. Issues of fact sufficient to require denial of a motion for summary judgment ...


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