To win a Tennessee premises liability lawsuit, the plaintiff has the burden to provide sufficient evidence in support of the claim. In some cases, the defendant will ask the court to decide the matter before trial in a motion for summary judgment. In an August 29, 2017 case, the Court of Appeals of Tennessee decided whether a lower court properly granted a summary judgment motion in favor of the defendant, which was appealed by the plaintiff.
The plaintiff in the case was at the Bridgestone Arena attending a concert when she slipped in a pool of liquid near the concession area and fell. As a result of the fall, she sustained injuries to her left knee, which required two surgeries. The plaintiff filed a premises liability action against the owner and manager of the arena, alleging that they were negligent in failing to maintain the arena in a reasonably safe condition. The defendants argued that they had no actual or constructive knowledge of the spill.
In order to prevail on a negligence claim, the plaintiff must prove the elements of duty, breach, injury, and causation. In premises liability cases, the premises owner has a duty of reasonable care to prevent injuries to people lawfully on the property and to remove or warn against hidden, dangerous conditions of which the owner is aware or should be aware through due diligence. Owners have no duty to remove or warn of dangerous conditions that were unknown or could not have been discovered by the owner. Accordingly, if a third party created the dangerous condition, the plaintiff must also prove that the premises owner had actual knowledge or constructive notice that the dangerous condition existed before the plaintiff was injured.