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Huey v. Telapex, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

May 7, 2019

BETTY LYNN HUEY APPELLANT
v.
TELAPEX, INC. D/B/A C-SPIRE APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/17/2018

          SUNFLOWER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. CAROL L. WHITE-RICHARD JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: ALSEE McDANIEL

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: SHELDON G. ALSTON ROBERT LANE BOBO

          BEFORE J. WILSON, P.J., GREENLEE, WESTBROOKS AND McDONALD, JJ.

          GREENLEE, J.

         ¶1. After falling on ice in a parking lot, Betty Huey filed a premises liability action in the Sunflower County Circuit Court against Telapex Inc. D/B/A C-Spire (C-Spire). C-Spire moved for summary judgment, claiming Huey's injuries were caused by a natural condition in a remote area of the premises and that the danger was known and appreciated by Huey. The circuit court agreed and granted summary judgment.

         ¶2. Now Huey appeals, claiming summary judgment was improper because there were genuine issues of material fact as to (1) whether she fell in a remote area of the premises or an area immediately adjacent to the store's entrance, (2) whether she knew and appreciated the danger, and (3) whether C-Spire exercised reasonable care to keep its premises in a reasonably safe condition. We affirm the circuit court's grant of summary judgment.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶3. On March 6, 2015, Betty Huey, a retired school teacher, traveled to C-Spire in Indianola, Mississippi to pay her cell phone bill. The previous week, the area experienced freezing temperatures and snow. On March 6, the conditions were still cold and icy, but Huey was concerned about possible late fees and cancellation of service. When Huey arrived at C-Spire, she noticed that most of the parking lot was covered with ice. So she parked her vehicle in a handicapped parking space near the front of the store. Huey did not see any ice in the parking space. But when she stepped out of her vehicle, she immediately slipped and fell.

         ¶4. On March 21, 2017, Huey filed a complaint in the Sunflower County Circuit Court seeking damages for personal injuries. She alleged that C-Spire failed to maintain its business premises by not treating the parking-lot surface for ice and snow. Subsequently, in a response to an interrogatory, C-Spire stated that its employees had placed salt on icy areas of the parking lot before and after the incident.

         ¶5. Then, in February 2018, C-Spire filed a motion for summary judgment. C-Spire claimed that Huey was injured by a natural condition on a remote part of the business premises and that she knew and appreciated the danger. In response, Huey reasserted her claim that C-Spire failed to exercise reasonable care in maintaining its premises. Huey also claimed that the handicapped parking space was immediately adjacent to the entrance, and that the danger was neither open nor obvious.

         ¶6. In granting summary judgment, the court found that Huey fell in a remote area and knew and appreciated the danger. After Huey's motion to reconsider was denied, she filed a notice of appeal.

         STANDARD ...


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