Recently, RSRM Partner Andy Nichols, successfully had summary judgment granted on behalf of his clients in a case pending in Worcester County, Maryland.
Plaintiff alleged that she was an invitee at a condominium complex in Ocean City, Maryland, a status that was heavily disputed by all of the Defendants. While climbing down a set of stairs between the ground level and the second floor, Plaintiff tripped on the stairs which she alleged were defectively designed and constructed. Specifically, she alleged she grabbed the railing to stop herself from falling and, when she did, the railing gave way, causing her to fall to the ground one story below. Plaintiff’s injuries included paralysis from the waist down.
Plaintiff filed suit against the condominium property as well as all of the individual unit owners. Counsel for all of the individual unit owners, through combined efforts in discovery, including depositions of each unit owner and the Plaintiff, were able to lay the ground work for Defendants to file for summary judgment.
Collectively, Defendants argued that, pursuant to the Maryland Condominium Act, as individual unit owners they did not owe a duty to the Plaintiff. Maryland law states that when a council of unit owners exists as a legal entity, whether it is incorporated or not, the council of unit owners as an entity is responsible for repairing and maintaining common areas on the property, not the individual unit owners. The Defendants further argued that pursuant to the Courts & Judicial Proceedings Article of the Maryland Code, the individual unit owners were essentially immune from liability.
The Court agreed with these arguments, and granted summary judgment on behalf of all of the individual unit owners, including the two unit owners represented by RSRM. Congratulations to Mr. Nichols.