OF JUDGMENT: 07/24/2017
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, HON. PAUL S. FUNDERBURK TRIAL JUDGE:
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: BRIAN L. STARLING
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: MARC A. SORIN
IRVING, P.J., CARLTON AND WILSON, JJ.
On a rainy day in Corinth, Bruce Patterson slipped and fell
on a wheelchair ramp as he left Mi Toro, a Mexican
restaurant, carrying takeout. Patterson later sued Mi Toro, but
the circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Mi
Toro after concluding that there were no genuine issues of
material fact and that the wheelchair ramp was not a
"dangerous condition." We agree with the circuit
court and therefore affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Around lunchtime on November 5, 2014, Patterson went to Mi
Toro for takeout. He went inside the restaurant while his
then-fiancée stayed in the car. It was raining at the
time, and the parking lot was wet. Patterson picked up his
order and left the restaurant. In his deposition, Patterson
testified that he slipped and fell on a short wheelchair ramp
that connects the parking lot to the sidewalk near the door
to the restaurant. The ramp was painted yellow, and Patterson
claims that the paint was "slick" because it was
wet from the rain and there was no "gravel" or
"sand" in the paint. Patterson had used the same
door when he entered and exited Mi Toro on about ten prior
occasions, and he had never slipped on the ramp or noticed
that it was slick. Patterson claims that the ramp appeared
"freshly painted" on the day he fell.
Patterson told Mi Toro employees that he did not need an
ambulance. He drove himself to the hospital because his back,
knee, and side hurt, but he left the hospital later that day.
In January 2016, he sued Mi Toro in circuit court, alleging
that he suffered injuries because Mi Toro failed to keep its
property in a safe condition.
Mi Toro's manager, Salvador Garcia, testified in his
deposition that the ramp was not freshly painted and had not
been painted since around 2012. Garcia, who had worked at Mi
Toro for twenty years, also testified that he was not aware
of any other customer who had ever slipped and fallen on the
After the parties engaged in discovery, Mi Toro moved for
summary judgment on the ground that there was no evidence of
a dangerous condition on the premises at the time and place
of Patterson's fall. The circuit court agreed there was
no genuine issue of material fact and granted Mi Toro's
motion for summary judgment. Patterson appealed.
"We review the grant or denial of a motion for summary
judgment de novo, viewing the evidence in the light most
favorable to the [non-moving] party . . . ."
Karpinsky v. Am. Nat'l Ins., 109 So.3d 84, 88
(¶9) (Miss. 2013) (internal quotation mark omitted).
Summary judgment "shall be rendered" if the record
evidence shows "that there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a
judgment as a matter of law." M.R.C.P. 56(c). Thus,
"summary judgment is appropriate when the non-moving
party has failed to make a showing sufficient to establish
the existence of an element essential to the party's
case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof
at trial." Karpinsky, 109 So.3d at 89 (¶
11) (internal quotation mark omitted). Furthermore, the
non-moving "party may not rest upon the mere allegations
or denials of his pleadings, ...