OF JUDGMENT: 01/24/2018
FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST
JUDICIAL DISTRICT TRIAL JUDGE: HON. TOMIE T. GREEN
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: MATTHEW THOMPSON GREGORY J. BOSSELER
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: JAMES D. HOLLAND
Wilda Ann Martin sued Trustmark Corporation after she tripped
over the threshold in the doorway of a women's restroom
in the Trustmark building in downtown Jackson. She alleges
that the threshold is an unreasonably dangerous condition.
The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of
Trustmark, and Martin appealed. The threshold is not a
dangerous condition. Therefore, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On December 21, 2015, Wilda Ann Martin and her daughter, Kim
Neyland, went Christmas shopping. When they finished
shopping, Martin drove Neyland to downtown Jackson to meet
Neyland's husband, who worked at a law firm downtown.
Because it was raining, Martin and Neyland decided to park in
the covered customer parking adjacent to the Trustmark
building, though they did not have any business at the bank.
Martin and Neyland then entered the building.
Neyland had worked in the Trustmark building several years
earlier, and there had been a restroom on the first floor
when she worked there. However, she testified that the door
that led to the restroom had a sign on it that read
"Health and Wellness" or "Trustwell." At
her deposition, Neyland was shown a photograph of the door
with a sign that stated "Trustwell" and
"Employees Only." Neyland testified that she did
not "recall it saying 'Employees Only' at the
time." She did not dispute that it did-she simply did
Neyland testified that she entered the coffee shop in the
lobby of the building and asked an employee, "Is there a
restroom?" Neyland testified that the employee, Nigel
Davis, answered, "Yes. Right through those doors."
Davis testified that Neyland asked him, "Is that
restroom still there?" According to Davis, he simply
answered "yes" and then continued serving his
customers. Davis testified that at times he had given
visitors to the building "permission" to use the
first-floor restroom as a "[c]ourtesy." However,
Davis did not consider it a "public" restroom, and
no one from Trustmark had ever specifically authorized him to
allow customers to use it. Davis also did not know whether
Trustmark or the coffee shop had any policies regarding
public use of the restroom.
Neyland and Martin went through the "Trustwell"
door and walked down a hallway. The door to the women's
restroom is at the end of that hallway on the left. Inside
the door, there is a short entranceway with a white vinyl
tile floor. A second doorway (without a door) separates the
entranceway's white vinyl tile floor from the blue tile
floor of the restroom itself. There is a
"threshold" in that doorway. A photograph of the
threshold is attached as an appendix to this opinion. As the
photo shows, the threshold is white, but a different shade
than the vinyl tile. The threshold allegedly rises one and
one-eighth of an inch from the adjacent tile floor. It is not
an abrupt right angle but a "slanted" threshold.
Neyland crossed the threshold into the restroom. Walking
behind Neyland, Martin allegedly tripped over the threshold.
She fell and sustained serious injuries to her shoulder.
Martin sued Trustmark in Hinds County Circuit Court. In her
complaint, she alleged that she fell because of a
"defect in the floor" that was a dangerous
condition. In her amended complaint, she alleged that
"she tripped on a foreign object" that was a
dangerous condition. In her deposition, Martin asserted that
the threshold "should have been marked with another
hazardous different color flooring." Martin later
submitted a ...