ORDER ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
E. Mullen, Deputy Chief Justice
matter came before the undersigned on November 9, 2017 with
respect to the Defendant's Motion For Summary Judgment
filed 7/28/17. Plaintiff filed her Memorandum in Opposition
to the Defendant's Motion For Summary Judgment on 9/6/17,
and Defendant filed her Reply to Plaintiff's Memorandum
Of Law in Opposition To Defendant's Motion For Summary
Judgment on 9/20/17. After reviewing the file and applicable
case law, and after counsel for the parties waived oral
argument with respect to the motion, the undersigned enters
the following Order based upon the reasons
set forth below:
Procedural and Factual History:
or about 2/7/13, Plaintiff Emily Poulin (hereinafter
"Plaintiff") came to the home of Defendant Deborah
Thomas (hereinafter "Defendant") in Fairfield,
Maine. (S.M.F. ¶ 1).
While at the home Plaintiff stood on a dining room chair, she
says at the suggestion of the Defendant, to move a shelf that
was on the kitchen wall. (S.M.F. ¶ 12). Defendant denies
she made any suggestion to Plaintiff concerning the use of a
chair. Affidavit of Defendant at ¶ 5-6. In any event,
Plaintiff fell from the chair and alleges injuries sustained
as a result of her fall. (S.M.F. ¶¶ 3-4). Plaintiff
felt the chair was sturdy before she fell. (S.M.F. ¶ 7).
Plaintiff does not know what made her fall (S.M.F. ¶ 5);
however, Plaintiff contends that Defendant knew the chair
used by Plaintiff was structurally unsound and that
Defendants had attempted to repair it by putting screws in
it. (Complaint at ¶ 10). Plaintiff contends one of the
legs of the chair that had a screw in it was dislodged from
the seat of the chair, as evidenced by a photograph taken of
the chair after the incident. (Affidavit of PL dated 9/27/17
at ¶ 19). However, Plaintiff also states that she
believed the chair was sturdy and did not inspect it before
standing on it. (S.M.F. ¶¶ 7-8).
Defendant denies putting any screws in the chair, and denies
the chair was wobbly. (Def.'s Resp. to Add. S.M.F. ¶
16; Def.'s Dep. p. 23). Defendant also disputes that
certain photographs of a chair with screws in it are
photographs of the same chair from which Plaintiff fell
(Def.'s Resp. To Add. S.M.F. ¶¶ 29-30), while
Plaintiff contends that the pictures of the chair were taken
in Plaintiffs presence and were taken of a chair that the
Defendant had produced in response to a request from
Plaintiff to produce the chair from which Plaintiff had
fallen. (Pi's Affidavit dated 9/27/17 at ¶¶
Finally, the parties disagree as to whether Defendant was
even in the room when Plaintiff fell. Affidavit of Defendant
at ¶ 7; Affidavit of Plaintiff at ¶9.
Standard of Review:
Summary Judgment is only appropriate when "the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
referred to in the statements (of material fact) show that
there is no genuine issue as to any material fact set forth
in those statements and that any party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law." M.R. Civ. P. 56(c). A
material fact is one that can affect the outcome of the case,
and there is a genuine issue when there is sufficient
evidence for a fact-finder to choose between competing
versions of the fact. North East Ins. Co. v. Young,
2011 ME 89, ¶ 17.
Court will draw any reasonable inferences that a fact-finder
could draw from the given facts in favor of the non-moving
party. Curtis v. Porter, 2001 ME 158, ¶ 9. When
facts or reasonable inferences are in dispute on a material
point, the Court will not enter summary judgment.
Plaintiff is alleging "negligence" on the part of
the Defendant, presumably in attempting to "repair"
the chair the Plaintiff was standing on when she fell, as
evidenced that one of the legs of the chair dislodged while
Plaintiff was standing on the chair, causing her to fall.
See Complaint at ¶ 10, 12, and 13.
Plaintiff is also alleging that Defendant owed Plaintiff
"a duty of reasonable care and to guard against
foreseeable dangers..." see Complaint at ¶
9, and presumably that the chair repaired by ...