Where a premises liability plaintiff did not provide sufficient proof that a sewer cleanout cap in a sidewalk was a dangerous or defective condition, summary judgment for defendants was affirmed.
In Garamella v. City of Lebanon, No. M2021-00262-COA-R3-CV, 2022 WL 202641 (Tenn. Ct. App. Jan. 24, 2022), plaintiff was walking on a sidewalk in a residential neighborhood when she tripped and fell over a sewer cleanout cap that protruded from the middle of the sidewalk. Plaintiff was walking her dog at the time and admitted in discovery that she was distracted by her dog and “probably would have seen the cleanout cap had she been looking forward as she walked.”
The sidewalk was located in a neighborhood constructed by defendant Goodall Homes. Goodall had contracted with a construction company to build the sidewalk, which was substantially completed in September 2006. The City of Lebanon, who was also named as a defendant, completed a final surface inspection of the area in November 2009 and thereafter “assumed responsibility for the maintenance of the sidewalk.” The evidence in this case showed that an unnamed homeowner had also potentially tripped over the cap at some point in the past, but that the cap placement was “compliant with the applicable code” and that if such a previous trip had occurred, it was not reported to the City. Defendants Goodall and the City both filed motions for summary judgment, which the trial court granted, and the Court of Appeals affirmed.