COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HARRISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/16/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. ROGER T. CLARK. TRIAL COURT SUMMARY JUDGMENT GRANTED TO APPELLEE.
FOR APPELLANTS: CHRISTOPHER E. FITZGERALD.
FOR APPELLEE: MELINDA OWEN JOHNSON.
BARNES, J. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL AND FAIR, JJ., CONCUR. JAMES, J., DISSENTS WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.
NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - PERSONAL INJURY
¶1. Barbara Sharlow filed a negligence suit after she slipped and fell on the sidewalk outside Raybourn's Hair Salon. Sharlow alleged tat Raybourn's breached its duty to her as an invitee by failing to correct or warn her of a dangerous condition on the sidewalk. The circuit court found that Raybourn's owed Sharlow no such duty, as she was a licensee at the time of her fall. Raybourn's was granted summary judgment. We agree that summary judgment was appropriate and affirm.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
¶2. Sharlow worked as a full-time receptionist at Raybourn's from 1995 to 2004. In 2008, she returned to work at Raybourn's as a receptionist on an as-needed basis. Beginning in 2004, after she retired, Sharlow received free haircuts from Mary Whittington, a stylist at Raybourn's, once every four to six weeks. Sharlow would make her appointments directly with Whittington, even though Raybourn's had a receptionist. Sharlow did not pay Whittington for the haircuts; however, she always left a tip. On October 2, 2009, Sharlow entered Raybourn's at 7:00 a.m. to have her hair cut by Whittington. Sharlow was not scheduled to work that day, and the appointment was not during normal business hours, as Raybourn's opened at 8:00 a.m.
¶3. It was raining heavily on the day of Sharlow's appointment. While she was inside the salon, a " big downpour" occurred. After her haircut, Sharlow waited inside for the storm to subside. Between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m., the rain " let up a little bit," and Sharlow decided to leave. When she exited the building and proceeded to the parking lot, she slipped and fell on a concrete ramp adjacent to Raybourn's. Water had accumulated on the ramp due to the rainfall, and additional water was redirected onto the ramp from the down spout of the building's gutter system. Sharlow broke her left ankle and injured her left leg and foot during the fall.
¶4. According to Whittington, Sharlow admitted immediately after the fall that she was at fault, and that she " knew better than to run in the rain." Robert Raybourn, the salon's owner, spoke to Sharlow later, as he was not at the salon when the fall occurred. Raybourn testified that Sharlow told him that the fall was " not his fault," but that her " feet just went out from under [her]." Sharlow admitted that she did not use the handrail when walking ...