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Papa v. Munster Real Estate Venture, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

May 12, 2014

SAM AND PATRICIA PAPA, HUSBAND AND WIFE, Plaintiffs,
v.
MUNSTER REAL ESTATE VENTURE, LLC, Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

ANDREW P. RODOVICH, Magistrate Judge.

This matter is before the court on the Verified Statement of Costs [DE 21] filed by the plaintiffs on February 24, 2014, and the Motion for Summary Judgment [DE 24] filed by the defendant, Munster Real Estate Venture, LLC, on March 31, 2014. For the following reasons, the Verified Statement of Costs [DE 21] is GRANTED, and the Motion for Summary Judgment [DE 24] is DENIED.

Background

On April 20, 2011, the plaintiff, Patricia Papa, attended a doctor's appointment on the property owned by the defendant, Munster Real Estate Venture, LLC. A ramp ran from the sidewalk to the asphalt parking lot. The raised edge on either side of the ramp was six inches above the walking surface of the ramp on the west end, where the ramp met the parking lot, and consistently sloped down to become flush with the ramp on the east end, where the ramp met the sidewalk. The Americans with Disabilities Act standard for accessible design allows a 1:50 cross slope, which this ramp exceeded.

As Papa was leaving her appointment, she saw an elderly man with a cane three-quarters of the way down the ramp and became distracted. Papa testified that:

A: Then suddenly I hit the bump on this curb by the side and that's where I fell.
Q: Do you remember what happened to your feet as you were falling? Did you feel your toe stub or anything like that?
A. No. Suddenly I was just going down. [Papa Dep., p. 17-18]
Q: Why would you have stepped over then to the left, do you know?
* * *
A. No. I was just - I didn't really step to the right. I wasn't going over the bump. I was just - I mean, it's - you don't know where - you don't really walk right down the center. I saw him and suddenly I hit the curb there. [Papa Dep., p. 19]
Q: Where were you looking when your foot struck the side of the ramp?
A: I don't know, just -
A: I don't know. It just all happened so fast. I was walking out and that was it. I ...

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