By Tessan Wess
A recent opinion from the United States District Court, District of Oregon holds that a parking stop does not present an unreasonable risk of harm as a matter of law. Fast v. Coastal Journeys Unlimited, Inc., 6:16-CV-00060-MC, 2016 WL 7331557 (D. Or. Dec. 16, 2016).
In Fast v. Coastal Journeys Unlimited, Inc., plaintiff Eileen Fast filed a premises liability lawsuit after tripping over a common tire block designed to stop vehicles from moving forward. The defendant, Angels Management, Inc. dba Gold Beach Resort moved for summary judgment, arguing that wheel stops do not present an unreasonable risk of harm to invitees; that sufficient warnings were given to invitees so they could detect and avoid the wheel stops; and that the wheel stops were open and obvious. The court held as a matter of law that “a wheel stop found in a place where a wheel stop may normally be found, such as at the top of a parking space, is not an unreasonably dangerous condition and does not create an unreasonable risk of harm.” The plaintiff presented an expert declaration to argue that there were alternatives to using parking stops and that the white-painted wheel stop resembled the white-painted parking strips that were flush with the parking surface which created a tripping hazard. In rejecting these arguments, the court explained that wheel stops are expected to be found in a parking lot, just as a step is expected to be found where steps are normally present and that it did not present an unreasonable risk of harm with a concomitant duty to warn.
***Plaintiff filed an appeal with the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on January 5, 2017.