Draughon v. Evening Star Holiness Church of DunnAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals vacating the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendant in this negligence action, holding that because the alleged defect was open and obvious and thus should have been evident to Plaintiff and because Plaintiff did not take reasonable care, summary judgment was properly granted.
Plaintiff visited Defendant's church property for a funeral and helped carry the casket. Plaintiff tripped near the top of the stairs and was injured. The top step was visibly higher than the other steps and made of noticeably different materials. The trial court found that Defendant was entitled to summary judgment. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that genuine issues of material fact existed regarding whether the condition of the top step was open and obvious, whether the top step caused Plaintiff's fall, and whether Plaintiff was contributorily negligent. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the top step was an open and obvious condition such that a reasonably prudent person would have recognized it and taken appropriate care to avoid injury while using it; and (2) Plaintiff did not take the care that an ordinary person would have taken while carrying the casket up the set of stairs and so was contributorily negligent.