Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Paulette Billie & Ronald Billie, H/W v. Autism Speaks

December 13, 2012

PAULETTE BILLIE & RONALD BILLIE, H/W,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
AUTISM SPEAKS, INC.,
DEFENDANT



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

MEMORANDUM RE: DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiffs, Paullette and Ronald Billie, initiated this premises liability action against Defendant, Autism Speaks, Inc., for an injury Mrs. Billie suffered at a city park during one of Defendant's events. Currently before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. Defendant argues that it cannot be liable for Mrs. Billie's injury since it did not possess the property where the injury occurred. The Court will GRANT Defendant's motion because a reasonable fact-finder could not infer, based on the evidence in the record, that Defendant had possession of the park. Although Plaintiffs assert a new theory of liability in their brief, this new theory has no viability under the circumstances of this case.

II. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The Defendant, Autism Speaks, is a non-profit organization that raises funds for autism awareness and research. One way Defendant raises funds is by holding "Walk Now for Autism" events where individuals are encouraged, but not required, to solicit donations for walking five kilometers. Deposition of Paulette Billie ("Billie Dep.") at 69:6-9. On April 16, 2011, Defendant held a "Walk Now for Autism" event that was attended by approximately 8,000 to 10,000 people at Lehigh Parkway in the City of Allentown. During the event, Mrs. Billie fractured her right ankle when she stepped into a hole in a grassy hill where she parked.

Lehigh Parkway is owned, maintained, and regulated by the City of Allentown. Deposition of Jason Hertz ("Hertz Dep.") at 8-9; Deposition of Richard A. Holtzman ("Holtzman Dep.") at 9. The City granted Defendant a permit to use the park on the day in question. Holtzman Dep. at 10-11. In order to obtain this permit, Defendant was required to obtain insurance coverage for $1,000,000 and produce a certificate showing that the City of Allentown was included as an additionally insured party. Ex. 1 at 6 to Holtzman Dep.

Under the permit, it is undisputed that Defendant "was required to follow the rules and regulations of the Lehigh Parkway . . . and in that connection, Lehigh Parkway was open to the public during the Walk." Def's Mot. ¶ 11. Richard A. Holtzman, the Superintendent of the Parks and Acting Director of Parks and Recreation, testified about the nature of Defendant's permit as follows:

Q. And did the City of Allentown grant Autism Speaks Inc. the permission to use the Lehigh Parkway for the 2011 walk?

A. Yes.

Q. And in doing so was Autism Speaks required to follow the rules and regulations of the Lehigh Parkway?

A. Yes.

Q. Was the Lehigh Parkway open to the public during the walk?

A. Yes.

Q. In other words, could my client Autism Speaks keep anybody from doing their normal walk or run, fishing, any other activity that the park is open to?

A. No.

Q. How about dogs? People walk dogs in the Lehigh Parkway, correct?

A. Correct.

Q. Could my client keep folks from doing that?

A. No.

Q. How about streets? Are there streets where you can drive your car through the Lehigh Parkway where this ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.