Williams v. Stephens Media LLC
ORDER denying 120 Defendant Stephens Media LLC's renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law. Signed by Chief Judge Brian S. Miller on 11/29/2017. (kdr)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
PINE BLUFF DIVISION
CASE NO. 5:16-CV-00031 BSM
STEPHENS MEDIA LLC
Defendant Stephens Media LLC’s renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law
[Doc. No. 120] pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50(b) is denied.
The open and obvious danger rule generally “provides that a landowner has no duty
to protect an invitee from a dangerous condition on the property that is known by or obvious
to the invitee, unless the landowner should reasonably anticipate that the invitee will be
exposed to the danger despite the invitee’s knowledge of the condition or its obvious nature.”
Chew v. Am. Greetings Corp., No. 3:10CV00124 BSM, 2013 WL 812363, at *4 (E.D. Ark.
Mar. 5, 2013, aff’d, 754 F.3d 632 (8th Cir. 2014). An exception to the open and obvious
danger rule exists when an invitee is forced, as a practical matter, to encounter the danger in
order to perform her job. Van DeVeer v. RTJ, Inc., 101 S.W.3d 881, 887 (Ark. App. 2003).
Stephens Media’s position is that it owed no duty to plaintiff Leashurn Williams because she
saw the clutter near the back door when she arrived at work and could have avoided the
danger when she left work simply by using the front door to exit the building. Williams
testified, however, that she was required by Stephens Media to use the rear door. Although
Stephens Media’s witnesses vehemently denied Williams’s testimony, the jury apparently
determined that Williams had no practical alternative to the rear door.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 29th day of November 2017.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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