Michael Janoska v. D.C. Development, LLC

Filing 920090512

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UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 08-1393 MICHAEL JANOSKA; HOLLY JANOSKA, Plaintiffs - Appellants, v. D.C. DEVELOPMENT, SPIKER, II, LLC; DEEP CREEK MARINA, LLC; ADRIAN Defendants - Appellees. Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Baltimore. William D. Quarles, Jr., District Judge. (1:07-cv-01232-WDQ) Submitted: February 6, 2009 Decided: May 12, 2009 Before MICHAEL, TRAXLER, and DUNCAN, Circuit Judges. Reversed and remanded by unpublished per curiam opinion. Robert L. Allen, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Victor Pribanic, PRIBANIC & PRIBANIC, LLC, White Oak, Pennsylvania, for Appellants. Paul M. Finamore, Brett A. Buckwalter, NILES, BARTON & WILMER, LLP, Baltimore, Maryland; John R. Merinar, Jr., Sara E. Hauptfuehrer, STEPTOE & JOHNSON, PLLC, Clarksburg, West Virginia, for Appellees. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. PER CURIAM: Michael and Holly Janoska appeal from the district court's orders granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants in their action in which they asserted that Defendants' negligence resulted in Michael Janoska's physical injuries, and denying their motion for reconsideration of that order. The district court found that Janoska assumed the risk of injury when, while working as a snowmaker at a ski resort, he approached a pickup truck in which the driver had been driving erratically on the closed ski slopes. In Maryland, assumption of the risk is an affirmative defense that operates as a complete bar to recovery. Hollenbach, 751 A.2d 481, 488 (Md. 2000). risk if he "(1) had knowledge of the Crews v. A person assumes the risk of the danger; (2) appreciated that risk; and (3) voluntarily confronted the risk of danger." ADM P'ship v. Martin, 702 A.2d 730, 734 (Md. 1997) (citing Liscombe v. Potomac Edison Co., 495 A.2d 838, 843 (Md. 1985)). However, "if the defendant's tortious conduct has left [the plaintiff] no reasonable alternative course of conduct in order to . . . avert harm to himself or another," the acceptance of the risk is not voluntary. ADM P'ship, 702 A.2d at 735 (quoting Restatement (Second) of Torts 496E). Here, Janoska testified during his deposition that he approached the truck because he "was very concerned about the 2 fact that this person was going to cause damage to himself or the snowmaking equipment." Janoska also presented evidence that a lot of dangerous high voltage electric wires run to the snow machines. If the driver of the pickup truck were to damage the snowmaking machines, it could result in a significant risk of injury to the occupants of the truck and also to any other persons on the ski slope, including Janoska and all other snowmakers who were working on the slopes. We question as find to this evidence sufficient was left to create "no a jury whether Janoska with reasonable alternative course of conduct in order to himself whether or he another," ADM P'ship, 702 . . . avert harm to at risk 735, of and thus A.2d the voluntarily accepted injury. Accordingly, we reverse the district court's grant of summary judgment on this issue and remand for further proceedings. dispense with oral argument because the facts and We legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials before the court and argument would not aid the decisional process. REVERSED AND REMANDED 3

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