Hall & Evans’ attorney Brian R. Mannal recently prevailed on summary judgment on behalf of a restaurant in a case before the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico. The Plaintiff sued the restaurant for alleged negligence, negligence per se, and premises liability in relation to injuries that she sustained outside of a restaurant in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

In September 2016, the Plaintiff tripped and fell as she stepped off of a sidewalk curb while walking to her car in the parking lot. The sidewalk, curb, and parking spots around the restaurant were all painted the same red color, and the Plaintiff claimed that the uniform color hindered her from seeing the downward step off of the curb.

In its Motion for Summary Judgment, Hall & Evans established that the restaurant did not breach its duty of reasonable care owed to the Plaintiff. Hall & Evans showed that prior to the incident involving the Plaintiff, to the best of the store manager’s knowledge, no customers or employees had ever complained that the unicolor sidewalk and curb “make it difficult to visually distinguish between the elevation of the exterior walkways and/or surfaces,” thereby suggesting that the Plaintiff’s fall was unforeseeable.

In its Order Granting Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment, the Court noted that if the Plaintiff’s injury was unforeseeable, then the restaurant did not breach any duty of reasonable care (i.e., did not act unreasonably) by failing to paint the sidewalk and curb with a different color scheme. The Court further noted that there was no evidence to suggest that the restaurant’s paint choice violated any applicable building code or was manifestly unreasonable on its face. Consequently, based on the evidence presented by the parties, the Court determined that “no reasonable jury would find that the defendant breached the duty of ordinary care” as a matter of law and dismissed the Plaintiff’s lawsuit.