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Reid v. City of Philadelphia, Case Study Example

Pages: 1

Words: 383

Case Study

The case of Reid v. City of Philadelphia was a non-jury trial whereby the appellees sought damages from the city for liability of personal damages against Mr. Joseph Reid.  The parties agreed to a non-jury trial regarding liability.  The appellees filed a negligence action against the City and wanted retribution for medical expenses and personal damage sustained due to what they believed was caused by the government’s inability to make sidewalks safe for pedestrians during inclement weather.

In March, 2003, Joseph and Sarah Reid were walking on a sidewalk outside of Philadelphia’s 39th District Police Station, clearly government-owned and operated property.  Mr. Reid slipped on a patch of ice while on the sidewalk, slipped and fell, sustaining injuries to both ankles.  The appellees filed the lawsuit alleging that the government failed to remove ice and snow from the sidewalk; therefore, making the city of Philadelphia directly liable for Mr. Reid’s injuries.  At trial, the Reid family successfully proved that the city of Philadelphia negligently failed to remove the ice and snow from the sidewalk and even allowed its employees to park vehicles on the sidewalk, which compounded an already dangerous situation.

The direct question presented within this case proposes whether the government of the city of Philadelphia is directly liable for personal injuries sustained while using public sidewalks.  Furthermore, the appellees asked the court to determine whether the government has a direct responsibility to make public sidewalks safe for pedestrians.

The court ruled that “where a municipality is the owner of real property that adjoins a sidewalk, the municipality can be held primarily liable under Section 8542(b)(3) as property owner for its failure to satisfy its obligation to make sidewalks safe for pedestrian travel” (“Joseph Reid” par. 6).  The trial court and overseeing judge, Judge Eakin, ruled that the City was primarily liable for damages, under this Act’s real property exception clause.  However, upon appeal Judge Smith-Ribner disagreed with the majority’s decision and overturned the original ruling in the Commonwealth Court stating that the definition of “real property” in Section 8542(b)(3) does not apply to sidewalks; therefore, the court found that the city of Philadelphia was not liable for personal damages sustained.

Works Cited

“Joseph Reid and Sarah Reid v. City of Philadelphia.” Lawyers | Expert Witnesses | Court Reporters | Jury Verdicts. Web. 08 Dec. 2009. <http://www.morelaw.com/verdicts/case.asp?n=J-95-2007&s=PA&d=37742>.

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