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Elliott v. First Security Bank

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

November 25, 2014

PATRICIA ELLIOTT, APPELLANT
v.
FIRST SECURITY BANK, APPELLEE

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 07/19/2013.

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: PANOLA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. SMITH MURPHEY. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: GRANTED APPELLEE'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT.

FOR APPELLANT: KEITH M. ALEXANDER.

FOR APPELLEE: WILLIAM POLK THOMAS.

BEFORE LEE, C.J., ISHEE AND JAMES, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 1060

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - PERSONAL INJURY

ISHEE, J.

¶1. In 2011, Patricia Elliott sued First Security Bank (FSB) in the Panola County Circuit Court for a shoulder injury she suffered when she tripped and fell on a sidewalk in front of FSB. FSB eventually moved for summary judgment, which the circuit court granted. On July 19, 2013, the circuit court entered a final judgment in favor of FSB pursuant to the grant of summary judgment. Aggrieved, Elliott now appeals. Finding no error, we affirm.

STATEMENT OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. On April 24, 2010, Elliott and her son went to downtown Como, Mississippi (the City), for dinner. When they could not find a parking spot in front of the restaurant where they intended to eat, Elliott's son parked the car at FSB and they walked to the restaurant. Elliott had one whiskey drink before dinner. After dinner, at about 10:30 p.m., Elliott and her son walked back to the car. As Elliott was making her way to the passenger side of the car, she tripped on uneven pavement on the sidewalk and fell. The sidewalk is owned by the City, and FSB maintains an easement for the sidewalk.

¶3. After she fell, Elliott sought medical treatment at a local hospital. She was told she had injured her rotator cuff in her shoulder. She later had surgery to repair her rotator cuff and attended physical therapy for some time. Elliott asserts that the injury led to extensive medical bills and also led to her losing her job.

¶4. On April 19, 2011, she sued the City and FSB. Elliott argued that even though no mutual benefit was exchanged, she should be considered FSB's invitee and was owed the duty of reasonable care. She argued that the City's duty should be imputed to FSB because it owned an easement for the sidewalk. She settled with the City during mediation. However, FSB remained a party to the lawsuit.

¶5. FSB soon filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that it owed no duty to Elliott. At the time the injury occurred, FSB was closed, Elliott was not using the ATM, and she was not conducting any business at FSB. The only reason Elliott was at FSB that night was because the car was parked there while she and her son ate dinner nearby. Hence, FSB argued Elliott was not its invitee. The circuit court concluded that because Elliott entered FSB's property for her own convenience, pleasure, or benefit, and did not bestow any benefit or advantage to FSB, she was a licensee at the time she fell. ...


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