Kentucky Appeals Court sides with homeowners in construction accident case

by Mandy Hicks

When a person who is injured due to another party’s careless conduct files a lawsuit, he or she may expect the matter to be concluded either by a jury trial or by a settlement.

However, a significant number of Kentucky personal injury cases – especially premises liability lawsuits arising from slip and falls, trip and falls, and fall down accidents – are resolved via a motion for summary judgment.

By granting summary judgment, a trial court is saying, in essence, that even if everything the plaintiff says in his or her complaint is true, the defendant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Summary judgment is only appropriate in situations in which no genuine issues of material fact must be resolved in order for the issues to be decided.

Facts of the Case

In a recent appellate decision in a case originating in Fayette County Circuit Court, the plaintiff was an independent contractor who was working to remove siding from the defendant homeowner’s house when he was allegedly electrocuted after touching metallic flashing around a window. The plaintiff fell, injuring his ankle. He sued the defendants, seeking to recover damages for his injuries under a theory of negligence. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants knew that there were electrical issues in their home but failed to remedy the situation or warn him about the danger posed thereby.

The circuit court granted summary judgment to the defendant and denied the plaintiff’s motion to alter, amend, or vacate that judgment. The plaintiff appealed.

Holding in the Court of Appeals

The Commonwealth of Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed. The court characterized the plaintiff as an “invitee” upon the defendants’ premises, creating a duty upon the defendants to exercise an ordinary amount of care in keeping the premises reasonably safe and free from dangers of which the defendants knew or reasonably should have known.

The plaintiff argued that the defendants knew or should have known about electrical problems in their house because of, among other reasons, a property inspection report prepared several years before the accident. The appellate court disagreed, deciding that the plaintiff had not “establish[ed] a plausible suggestion that the [defendants] did or should have known of the electrical danger.” According to the court, there was nothing in the record that demonstrated any connection between the past electrical problems of the defendants’ home and the allegedly electrically charged window flashing that led to the plaintiff’s accident.

Schedule a Free Consultation Regarding a Kentucky Personal Injury Case

If you or someone in your family has been hurt because someone else breached a duty of care owed to you or your loved one, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Each case is unique, so it is important to speak to an experienced Kentucky personal injury attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a free case evaluation, call English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP, today at 270-781-6500. We represent injured people throughout both Kentucky and Tennessee.

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