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Jones v. Imperial Palace of Miss., LLC

Supreme Court of Mississippi, En Banc

September 18, 2014

JOSEPH JONES
v.
IMPERIAL PALACE OF MISSISSIPPI, LLC

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HARRISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/23/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. LAWRENCE PAUL BOURGEOIS, JR.

FOR APPELLANT: SHANDA M. YATES, YANCY B. BURNS.

FOR APPELLEE: RONALD PERESICH, JR., LAUREN REEDER McCRORY.

DICKINSON, PRESIDING JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT. KING, J., JOINS THIS OPINION.

OPINION

Page 319

ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI

CIVIL - PERSONAL INJURY

DICKINSON, PRESIDING JUSTICE.

¶1. In this premises-liability case, the plaintiff presented insufficient evidence that the defendant created or knew of a dangerous condition on its premises, so we reinstate and affirm the trial judge's summary judgment.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. While walking through the Imperial Palace Casino's parking garage in the space between the garage wall and the front of the parking spaces--an area that was neither designated for, nor prohibited to, pedestrians--Joseph Jones was injured when he tripped over a concrete parking bumper and fell to the concrete floor.

¶3. Jones filed suit alleging that the parking bumper was misaligned, jutted into the path, and proximately caused both his fall and his injury. The trial judge granted Imperial Palace's motion for summary judgment.

¶4. Jones appealed, and the Mississippi Court of Appeals reversed, finding sufficient evidence to create a jury question as to whether Imperial possessed actual as well as constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition, and whether it had failed to conduct reasonable inspections.[1] Imperial filed a petition for writ of certiorari, which we granted.

ANALYSIS

¶5. Because Jones was Imperial Palace's patron at the time of the fall, both parties agree that he was an invitee. So Imperial owed Jones the separate duties " 'to keep the premises reasonably safe and when not reasonably safe to warn only where there is hidden danger or peril that is not in plain and open view.'" [2] A premises owner who creates a dangerous condition is presumed to know of its existence.[3] But, where a dangerous condition resulted from another's conduct, the plaintiff must

Page 320

produce evidence that the owner had actual or constructive notice of the danger for a period of time reasonably sufficient to remedy or warn of it.[4] In this case, the trial judge granted summary judgment because Jones failed to present such evidence.

I. Jones failed to present any evidence that Imperial's negligence created the dangerous condition.

¶6. The question of whether Imperial caused the misaligned bumper is easily disposed of because both the trial judge and the Court of Appeals agree there was ...


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