United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
Patrick Hanlon United States District Judge.
Smagala fell down the stairs in her two-level suite at the
Embassy Suites. She contends that Embassy Suites is liable
for her resulting injuries because it negligently failed to
make the stairs reasonably safe. Embassy Suites has moved for
summary judgment. Dkt. . For the reasons that follow,
that motion is GRANTED.
Embassy Suites has moved for summary judgment under Rule
56(a), the Court views and recites the evidence “in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw[s] all
reasonable inferences in that party's favor.”
Zerante v. DeLuca, 555 F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2009)
Smagala married Timothy Junk on April 15, 2017. Dkt. 67-2 at
3 (Smagala Dep. at 10). Around midnight-after the ceremony,
dinner, and reception-Ms. Smagala went to their two-level
suite at the Embassy Suites. Dkt. 86-2 at 9-10 (Smagala Dep.
at 40-41). Without going upstairs, she dropped a few things
off and left to meet friends at a restaurant. Id. at
9-12 (Smagala Dep. at 40-43).
Smagala and Mr. Junk returned to the suite about 2:00 or 2:30
a.m. Id. at 13 (Smagala Dep. at 48). Ms. Smagala
used the downstairs bathroom, then went upstairs.
Id. at 15, 17 (Smagala Dep. at 59, 62). She had to
pull her wedding dress tightly around her because “the
steps were pretty steep.” Id. at 15 (Smagala
Dep. at 59). She used the handrail “and just went
really slow.” Id. She then changed out of her
dress and went to bed. Id.
4:00 a.m., Ms. Smagala woke up, needing to use the bathroom.
Id. at 17 (Smagala Dep. at 62); dkt. 67-5 at 14
(Junk Dep. at 54). She was “a little disoriented”
since she'd just woken up, so instead of using the
upstairs bathroom, she headed toward the downstairs bathroom
that she had already used. Dkt. 86-2 at 17 (Smagala Dep. at
62). At the top of the stairs, she looked for a light switch,
but the room was “really dark” and she
couldn't find one. Id. She instead found the top
of the stairs and went down one step, while still looking for
a light switch. Id. at 17-18, 20 (Smagala Dep. at
62-63, 67). Then, her “right foot slipped right off the
top of the top tread” and she fell to a landing partway
down the staircase. Id. at 17-18 (Smagala Dep. at
62-63, 73- 74); dkt. 67-2 at 19. Ms. Smagala called for help
and Mr. Junk turned on a light. Dkt. 67-2 at 19 (Smagala Dep.
at 73-74). Ms. Smagala tried to get up, but she fell again
the same way down the rest of the stairs. Id. She
suffered wrist, hand, finger, and shoulder injuries.
Id. at 20-21 (Smagala Dep. at 80- 84).
Smagala filed this action alleging that Embassy Suites was
negligent in failing to make the suite's stairs
reasonably safe. Dkt. 1-2. Embassy Suites removed the case to
this Court and moved for summary judgment. Dkt. 1; dkt.
judgment shall be granted “if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party must inform the court
“of the basis for its motion” and specify
evidence demonstrating “the absence of a genuine issue
of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the moving party meets this
burden, the nonmoving party must “go beyond the
pleadings” and identify “specific facts showing
that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Id.
ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the Court views the
evidence “in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party and draw[s] all reasonable inferences in that
party's favor.” Zerante, 555 F.3d at 584
(citation omitted). Indiana substantive law ...