OF JUDGMENT: 11/27/2015
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. C.E. MORGAN III JUDGE
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: STEVEN CRAIG PANTER STACY EVERETT
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: NAKIMULI ONI DAVIS-PRIMER J. STEPHEN
LEE, C.J., FAIR AND WILSON, JJ.
On April 28, 2012, Tiffany Griffin attended a charity
baseball tournament held at fields owned and maintained by
the Grenada Youth League (GYL), a nonprofit corporation.
Griffin's sons were on teams playing in the tournament.
As she walked down a grassy hill from the parking lot to the
ballfields, Griffin fell and suffered a broken ankle. Griffin
sued GYL on a premises liability theory in the Grenada County
Circuit Court. She alleges that she fell because she stepped
into a one-inch-deep "hole" that was obscured by
grass that was three or four inches high. The record does not
include any photographs of the supposed "hole, "
and GYL denies that there was a "hole" anywhere in
the vicinity. The circuit court subsequently granted summary
judgment for GYL. The court acknowledged that there is a
"dispute over whether there actually was a hole, "
but the court ruled "that as a matter of law the
premises was reasonably safe and there was no dangerous
condition or peril that required a warning." We agree
and therefore affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
GYL owns and operates a twenty-three-acre park in Grenada
with about ten youth baseball and softball fields. GYL
oversees youth leagues and occasionally hosts youth
tournaments at the park. GYL has only one paid employee and
is otherwise run by volunteers, including a volunteer board
GYL's president for the 2012 season, Jeff McWhorter,
asked three or four board members to serve on the grounds
committee. Before the season, the committee inspected the
park and did not identify any issues or needed repairs.
Most of GYL's board members are coaches, parents, or
grandparents of children who play baseball or softball at the
park. Thus, most board members regularly attend games and
walk and inspect the premises while at the park. In addition,
every board member has a key to an equipment shed at the
park, so any of them could easily fill a hole if one were
found. GYL hired a company called Yard Pro to cut the grass
in the park during the 2012 season. Yard Pro cut the grass on
a weekly basis.
From Monday, April 23, to Saturday, April 28, 2012, GYL
hosted its annual Frankie Bailey Tournament at the park. The
tournament, named in honor of a former player who died from
childhood cancer, serves as a fundraiser for both St. Jude
Children's Research Hospital and GYL. There is no
admission fee for the tournament, but attendees are
encouraged to make charitable donations. Yard Pro cut the
grass the weekend before the tournament began and again on
Wednesday, April 25, 2012.
Griffin's two sons played in GYL leagues and were playing
in the tournament. Griffin attended about six games during
the tournament, including on Friday, April 27, and she had
been to the park many times in prior seasons. On April 28,
Griffin arrived at the park around 11 a.m. She made a $5
donation when she entered and parked her car in a gravel
parking lot up a gently sloping grassy hill from the
ballfields. The lot is framed by wooden light poles laid
sideways on the ground to form a twelve- to
eighteen-inch-high boundary around the lot.
A paved walkway runs from the parking lot to the ballfields,
but Griffin decided to take a shortcut by stepping over one
of the wooden poles and walking down the grassy hill to the
fields. There were no signs warning visitors not to walk down
the hill, and McWhorter acknowledged that people frequently
walk down the hill. Griffin was ...