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Jose Colon v. Ashford Bucks County

November 6, 2012

JOSE COLON,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
ASHFORD BUCKS COUNTY, LLC D/B/A SHERATON BUCKS COUNTY HOTEL AND ASHFORD TRS SAPPHIRE VI, LLC D/B/A SHERATON BUCKS COUNTY HOTEL AND REMINGTON LODGING AND HOSPITALITY LP AND OTIS ELEVATOR COMPANY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sitarski, M. J.

MEMORANDUM

Currently pending before the Court is a motion for summary judgment filed by Defendants Ashford Bucks County, LLC, Ashford TRS Sapphire VI, LLC, and Remington Lodging & Hospitality, LLC (hereinafter "Moving Defendants" or "Defendants"). For the following reasons, the motion will be DENIED.

I. INTRODUCTION

On March 2, 2011, Plaintiff filed suit against Ashford Bucks County, LLC ("Ashford Bucks"), Ashford TRS Sapphire VI, LLC ("Ashford TRS"), and Remington Hotel and Lodging LP ("Remington"),*fn1 and Otis Elevator Company ("Otis"). All of these entities were connected with the Sheraton Bucks County Hotel ("the Hotel") in some way.

Plaintiff claims Moving Defendants are liable for negligence based on a contract between Otis and the Hotel. (Doc. No. 1, ¶ 11). On March 23, 2011, Ashford Bucks, Ashford TRS, and Remington filed an Answer to the Complaint. (Doc. No. 7).*fn2

This matter was initially assigned to District Court Judge C. Darnell Jones, II. On September 14, 2011, the parties consented to the exercise of jurisdiction by a United States Magistrate Judge under 28 U.S.C. 636(c) and Fed. R. Civ. P. 73, and the matter was referred to me. (Doc. No. 14).

On August 3, 2012, Defendants Ashford Bucks, Ashford TRS, and Remington filed the instant motion for summary judgment. (Doc. No. 33). Moving Defendants assert that summary judgment is appropriate because Plaintiff has failed to prove that Defendants were negligent under Pennsylvania law. (Doc. No. 33). Specifically, Moving Defendants argue that Plaintiff has failed to prove that Defendants Ashford Bucks, Ashford TRS, and Remington had any notice of the elevator's alleged defective condition. (Doc. No. 33). Further, Moving [Defendants assert that Plaintiff's expert report fails to produce any evidence that the alleged accident was the result of any failure by Defendants to exercise the appropriate standard of care. (Doc. No. 33). A Response, Reply, and Sur-Reply have been filed. (Doc. Nos. 40, 45, and 49). Accordingly, this matter is now ripe for disposition.

II. BACKGROUND

On April 17, 2009, a fire occurred at the Hotel where Plaintiff was employed as a maintenance worker. (Doc. No. 1, ¶15). As a result of the fire, the hotel elevators, including the service elevator, stopped operating. (Doc. No. 1, ¶ 15). The Hotel called Otis to put the elevators back into working condition, and Otis performed some work on the elevators. (Doc. No. 1, ¶ 16). The next day, April 18, 2009, Plaintiff was using the Hotel service elevator in the course of his employment, when the elevator doors allegedly closed on Plaintiff's arm, causing injury. (Doc. No. 1, ¶ 19).

At all relevant times, Ashford Bucks was the owner and lessor of the Hotel; Ashford TRS was the lessee and operator of the Hotel; and Remington was the entity responsible for managing the Hotel operations, including maintenance. (Doc. No. 1, ¶¶ 7-11). At all relevant times, Otis had a contract with the Hotel for the service and maintenance of the Hotel elevators ("Maintenance Contract"), including the elevator in which Plaintiff was allegedly injured. (Doc. No. 1, ¶ 13).*fn3

The Maintenance Contract provides, in relevant part, that Otis will "maintain the elevator equipment," and "use reasonable care to see that the equipment is maintained as set forth herein." Doc. No. 34, Ex. C. The Maintenance Contract further provides that Otis will "regularly and systematically examine, adjust, lubricate, and if conditions warrant . . . repair or replace" various agreed to equipment. Doc. No. 34, Ex. C.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is only appropriate "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). An issue is "genuine" if there is sufficient evidence from which a jury could find in favor of the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A fact is "material" if it "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Id.

It is not the court's role to weigh the disputed evidence and decide which is more probative, or to make credibility determinations. The court must consider the evidence, and all reasonable inferences which may be drawn from it, in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587-88 (1986) (citing United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962)); Tigg Corp. v. Dow Corning Corp., 822 F.2d 358, 361 (3d Cir. 1987). If a conflict arises between the evidence presented by both sides, the court must ...


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