United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
J. McAuliffe United States District Judge
and Louise Hunt bring two common law claims against Target
Corporation, seeking compensation for injuries sustained as a
result of Target's alleged negligence. Specifically, they
claim that Target negligently maintained property adjacent to
one of its stores by failing to properly remove accumulated
ice and snow. While Mr. Hunt was making a delivery to that
store, he stepped out of his truck, slipped on that
accumulated ice, and severely injured his back, right hip,
and knee. Louise Hunt seeks compensation for loss of
moves for summary judgment, advancing two arguments. First,
it says the property on which Mr. Hunt was injured is Limited
Common Area of the Monadnock Condominium and, therefore, not
part of Target's condominium unit. In simple terms,
Target says it is not the owner of the property on which Mr.
Hunt was injured and, therefore, owed no duty of care to him.
Next, says Target, even if it did owe some duty to Mr. Hunt
to ensure the area was clear of snow and ice, there is no
evidence to support plaintiffs' claim that Target
breached that duty. So, Target argues, it is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law on both of plaintiffs'
claims. Plaintiffs object.
reasons discussed, Target's motion for summary judgment
ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court is
“obliged to review the record in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party, and to draw all reasonable
inferences in the nonmoving party's favor.”
Block Island Fishing, Inc. v. Rogers, 844 F.3d 358,
360 (1st Cir. 2016) (citation omitted). Summary judgment is
appropriate when the record reveals “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). In
this context, a factual dispute “is ‘genuine'
if the evidence of record permits a rational factfinder to
resolve it in favor of either party, and ‘material'
if its existence or nonexistence has the potential to change
the outcome of the suit.” Rando v. Leonard,
826 F.3d 553, 556 (1st Cir. 2016) (citation omitted).
“[a]s to issues on which the party opposing summary
judgment would bear the burden of proof at trial, that party
may not simply rely on the absence of evidence but, rather,
must point to definite and competent evidence showing the
existence of a genuine issue of material fact.”
Perez v. Lorraine Enters., 769 F.3d 23, 29-30 (1st
Cir. 2014). In other words, “a laundry list of
possibilities and hypotheticals” and
“[s]peculation about mere possibilities, without more,
is not enough to stave off summary judgment.” Tobin
v. Fed. Express Corp., 775 F.3d 448, 451-52 (1st Cir.
2014). See generally Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986).
is the owner of Unit 5 in the Monadnock Condominium, on which
it constructed one of its stores. That store is located in a
shopping center known as Monadnock Marketplace, in Keene, New
Hampshire. According to plaintiffs' complaint,
On February 22, 2015, Mr. Hunt was making a delivery to the
Target store in Keene, New Hampshire. He was walking around
his work truck to drop and hook a Target trailer of
merchandise when he slipped and fell on ice that had
accumulated in the docking area resulting in severe injuries
to his back, right hip, and knee.
Complaint (document no. 1-1) at para. 5. At his deposition,
Mr. Hunt testified that, on the date of his accident, he
arrived at the Target store around midnight. Deposition of
Edwin Hunt (document no. 13-8) 50. He backed up his truck to
the elevated loading dock at the rear of Target's store,
“got out of the truck, and walked around the
front.” Id. at 66. He then slipped and fell on
some ice “around the front of [the] tractor.”
property on which Mr. Hunt fell is a concrete pad on which
delivery trucks park, see Id. at 80, immediately
adjacent to Target's elevated loading dock. The
preliminary (and potentially dispositive) question presented
by Target's motion for summary judgment is this: who owns
that concrete pad on which Mr. Hunt was injured? Plaintiffs
assert that Target owns that property or, at a minimum, is
obligated by the relevant condominium documents to maintain
that property in a safe condition. Target, on the other hand,
asserts that the area where Mr. Hunt was injured is Limited
Common Area, which is owned in common by all unit owners, and
is maintained by the Monadnock Condominium Unit Owners'