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Williamson v. Bellevue Medical Center, LLC

Supreme Court of Nebraska

October 18, 2019

Jay Williamson, Personal Representative of the Estate of Peggy Williamson, deceased, appellant,
v.
Bellevue Medical Center, LLC, appellee.

         1. Summary Judgment: Appeal and Error. An appellate court affirms a lower court's grant of summary judgment if the pleadings and admitted evidence show that there is no genuine issue as to any material facts or as to the ultimate inferences that may be drawn from the facts and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

         2. __:__. In reviewing a summary judgment, an appellate court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the party against whom the judgment was granted, and gives that party the benefit of all reasonable inferences deducible from the evidence.

         3. Summary Judgment. The primary purpose of the summary judgment procedure is to pierce the allegations in the pleadings and show conclusively that the controlling facts are other than as pled.

         4. Summary Judgment: Proof. The party moving for summary judgment must make a prima facie case by producing enough evidence to show that the movant is entitled to judgment if the evidence were uncontroverted at trial.

         5.__:__. If the party moving for summary judgment makes a prima facie case, the burden shifts to the nonmovant to produce evidence showing the existence of a material issue of fact that prevents judgment as a matter of law.

         6. Summary Judgment. At the summary judgment stage, the trial court determines whether the parties are disputing a material issue of fact. It does not resolve the factual issues.

         7. Negligence: Liability: Proximate Cause. A possessor of land is subject to liability for injury caused to a lawful visitor by a condition on the land if (1) the possessor either created the condition, knew of the condition, or by the exercise of reasonable care would have discovered the [304 Neb. 313] condition; (2) the possessor should have realized the condition involved an unreasonable risk of harm to the lawful visitor; (3) the possessor should have expected that a lawful visitor such as the plaintiff either (a) would not discover or realize the danger or (b) would fail to protect himself or herself against the danger; (4) the possessor failed to use reasonable care to protect the lawful visitor against the danger; and (5) the condition was a proximate cause of damage to the plaintiff.

          Appeal from the District Court for Sarpy County: Nathan B. Cox, Judge.

          Michelle D. Epstein, of Ausman Law Firm, P.C., L.L.O., for appellant.

          Kathryn J. Cheatle, of Cassem, Tierney, Adams, Gotch & Douglas, for appellee.

          Heavican, C.J., Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy, Funke, Papik, and Freudenberg, JJ.

          MILLER-LERMAN, J.

         NATURE OF CASE

         Peggy Williamson sustained injuries when she fell on a curb between a driveway and a sidewalk outside the entrance to Bellevue Medical Center, LLC (BMC), in Bellevue, Nebraska. She brought an action for negligence and premises liability in the district court for Sarpy County. Following her death, the action was revived in the name of her husband, Jay Williamson, as personal representative of Peggy's estate (Williamson). The district court granted summary judgment in favor of BMC, noting that BMC presented evidence that there was no defect in the curb, that it did not violate any code or ordinance, and that Williamson failed to produce evidence that the curb created an unreasonable danger. Williamson appeals, arguing it was error to grant summary judgment because a material issue of fact remained as ...


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