Duty of care by contractor to subsequent user of land for discoverable dangerous condition created by contractor

Davis v. NVR, Inc., 2017 WL 417191 (unreported), allocatur granted August 8, 2017, appeal docket 37 WAP 2017


Plaintiff fell and was injured when she slipped after stepping onto ice on a common area sidewalk owned by her homeowners association as she exited her parked car. She fell on a section of sidewalk that passed through a wetland area she alleged was periodically covered with water that would freeze during winter. Plaintiff sued defendants who designed the placement of the sidewalk and who installed it.  Trial court granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment and Superior Court affirmed, on grounds that dangerous condition created by contractor was not one that user of land was unlikely to discover, relying on Longwell v. Giordano, 57 A.3d 163, 164 (Pa. Super. 2012), appeal denied, 79 A.3d 1099 (Pa. 2013) (affirming grant of summary judgment in favor of contractor pursuant to Restatement (Second) of Torts § 385 where the evidence indicated that the contractor did not make the site of the fall “dangerous in a way that the [plaintiffs] were unlikely to discover”).

Supreme Court granted allocatur to decide whether “a contractor who creates a dangerous condition on land is relieved of his duty of reasonable care to subsequent users of the land by the fact that the dangerous condition was discoverable by either the owner of the land or by the user of the land[?]”

For more information, contact Kevin McKeon or Dennis Whitaker