Smith v. SmithAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court reversed the opinion of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the circuit court rendering a verdict in favor of Plaintiff on her tort action against Defendant, holding that the circuit court erred in giving jury instructions that failed to account for Plaintiff’s status and misstated the duty of care owed by Defendant.
Plaintiff was Defendant’s mother and was injured while at Defendant’s house. Plaintiff slipped and fell on Defendant’s back deck, which was soapy and slick after Plaintiff mopped it. The jury rendered a verdict in favor of Plaintiff and apportioned 100 percent of the fault upon Defendant. The court of appeals affirmed. the Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court’s “ordinary care” instruction misstated the law of premises liability, and the error was not harmless because the instruction effectively removed the step of establishing the scope of the duty owed to Plaintiff as either a licensee or invitee and whether, based on her classification, Defendant breached her duty of care.