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Banks v. Brinker Mississippi, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

August 26, 2014

JOYCE A. BANKS, APPELLANT
v.
BRINKER MISSISSIPPI, INC., APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: DESOTO COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/25/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. ROBERT P. CHAMBERLIN. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: GRANTED APPELLEE'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT.

FOR APPELLANT: JENNIFER LYN MILLER BERMEL.

FOR APPELLEE: ROBERT F. STACY JR., CATHERINE ASHBURN HESTER.

BEFORE IRVING, P.J., BARNES AND CARLTON, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR. MAXWELL, J., NOT PARTICIPATING.

OPINION

Page 389

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - PERSONAL INJURY

CARLTON, J.

¶1. Joyce Banks filed suit against Brinker Mississippi Inc., as the owner and operator of a Chili's restaurant in Southaven, Mississippi, alleging that Chili's breached its duty to keep its premises in a reasonably safe condition after Banks suffered injuries from falling in a hole in the Chili's parking lot. The DeSoto County Circuit Court granted Brinker's motion for summary judgment. Banks now appeals from that judgment. Finding no error, we affirm.

FACTS

¶2. On February 17, 2012, Banks filed a complaint in the Desoto County Circuit Court alleging negligence against Chili's, among other defendants.[1] Banks claims that on February 20, 2009, she was injured when she stepped in a hole and fell while in the parking lot of Chili's. Banks alleged that she was a business invitee and that Brinker, the owner and operator of the Chili's, was negligent for failing to maintain the parking lot in a safe condition; failing to warn her of the condition;

Page 390

and failing to conduct a reasonable inspection of the parking lot.

¶3. Banks alleges that on February 20, 2009, the day of her injury, she traveled from her home in Germantown, Tennessee, to Tunica, Mississippi, to visit a friend. Banks and her acquaintances then traveled to Southaven to see a movie. They decided to eat before going to the movie, and Banks suggested that they eat at the International House of Pancakes (IHOP). The Chili's restaurant was located next to IHOP, and each restaurant had a separate parking lot. Banks admitted that she parked in the Chili's parking lot, although she did not intend to patronize Chili's. Banks stated that at the time they arrived in the parking lot, she believed she was parking in the IHOP parking lot. Banks claimed that she fell in the parking lot while walking to her car after eating at IHOP and suffered a fractured patella.

¶4. On October 5, 2012, Brinker filed a motion for summary judgment on the grounds that since Banks did not intent to patronize Chili's when she parked on Brinker's property, she failed to constitute a business invitee, and therefore Brinker only owed her the duty accorded a licensee. Brinker also claimed that Banks failed to provide evidence that the alleged condition of the parking lot constituted willful and wanton conduct. On February 22, 2013, the trial court heard Brinker's motion for summary judgment and Banks's ore tenus motion for a continuance. On February 25, 2013, the trial court entered its order denying Banks's motion for a continuance and granting Brinker's motion for summary judgment. The ...


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