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Estep v. Xanterra Kingsmill, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia

March 3, 2017

CHRISTINE VAUGHAN ESTEP, Plaintiff,
v.
XANTERRA KINGSMILL, LLC, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Mark S. Davis United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on a motion for summary judgment filed by Xanterra Kingsmill, LLC ("Defendant" or "Kingsmill"). ECF No. 21. After examination of the briefs and record, the Court finds that a hearing is unnecessary, as the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented, and the decisional process would not be aided significantly by oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b); E.D. Va. Loc. Civ. R. 7(J).

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         The undisputed facts before the Court establish as follows:[1]

         (1) Kingsmill's resort premises include a tennis center that hosts 12-week long tennis leagues. Christine Estep ("Plaintiff") participated in such tennis leagues during the spring, summer, and fall of 2013.

         (2) A path made of asphalt, and edged with green grass, leads to the Kingsmill tennis courts. On September 12, 2013, at 9:45 a.m., Plaintiff fell while walking along the path toward the courts.

         (3) The below photograph depicts the path, and was taken less than 3 0 minutes after Plaintiff s fall. Plaintiff fell on the grassy patch located on the left side of the path as indicated by the blue arrow in the photograph below (the jblue arrow was added by the Court for illustration purposes only)

(Image Omitted)

         (4) The green grassy area depicted in the photographs is approximately 16 inches long and extends approximately 14 inches into the darker colored paved asphalt path.

         (5) While walking along the left side of the paved path, Plaintiff stepped into the grassy area, or partially into the grassy area, causing her to fall and sustain injuries to her foot and lower leg.

         (6) At the time of her fall, Plaintiff was alone on the paved path and was not distracted by her phone or other sources.

         (7) Many people, including Plaintiff, have safely used the paved path on prior occasions and Defendant has not had any complaints about the grassy area extending into the paved path, nor is Defendant aware of anyone else being injured at this location.

         (8) It is undisputed that there was approximately five feet of open paved path to the right of the grassy area, and there was no opposing foot traffic or other reason that Plaintiff could not have moved to the right in order to stay on the paved surface.

         (9) While Plaintiff made statements in her deposition that do not appear to contest the fact that the grassy area was visible, she contends that it did not look like a trip hazard or anything obvious to avoid. Plaintiff asserts that she was ...


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