Machado v. Yacht Haven U.S.v.I., LLC

2014 WL 5282116 (2014)


P finished work at D’s retail complex and walked to her car. The parking lot had three rows of parking spaces with a median dividing the two rows closest to the storefronts. The median contained trees and shrubbery, a sprinkler system servicing the vegetation, and had no designated way for pedestrians to cross it. Instead of walking around, P took her “usual route,” walking over the median. There were no signs warning against walking across the median, nor did the property owner discourage people from doing so. P tripped over a sprinkler head, falling forward over the median's curb and breaking both bones in her lower right leg. At the time she tripped, the lighting wasn't great. P's coworker Nicole Lewis used the light from her cell phone to find P. Paramedics also had trouble seeing in the parking lot when they arrived 15 minutes later, using flashlights while bracing her leg. P sued D. D moved for summary judgment D submitted a statement of undisputed facts, the report of civil engineer Wayne Callwood, the security logbook entry from November 7, 2008, and the deposition testimony of P and D employees Errol Denzy and Austin Potter, and corporate officers Eric Toth and Oliver Christian. The court granted D's motion for summary judgment. It held that P had no reason to believe D invited her to use the decorative median as a walkway. It held that D did not owe her a duty of care as an invitee. Even if P was a licensee, there was no evidence that D had notice that the sprinkler system created an unreasonable risk of harm or that D failed to exercise reasonable care in making this area safe. The court also concluded indicated that there might be hidden dangers present and but P had entered the decorative median at her own risk. P appealed.