Goddard v. Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Auth.

[Cite as Goddard v. Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Auth., 2022-Ohio-2679.] COURT OF APPEALS OF OHIO EIGHTH APPELLATE DISTRICT COUNTY OF CUYAHOGA ANGELA GODDARD, : Plaintiff-Appellant, : No. 111049 v. : GREATER CLEVELAND REGIONAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY, : Defendant-Appellee. : JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION JUDGMENT: AFFIRMED RELEASED AND JOURNALIZED: August 4, 2022 Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CV-21-945753 Appearances: William N. Masters Co., LPA, William N. Masters, and John C. Calabrese, for appellant. Sheryl King Benford, General Counsel – Deputy General Manager for Legal Affairs, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, Keith A. Ganther, Acting Deputy General Counsel and Brian R. Gutkoski, Associate Counsel II, for appellee. CORNELIUS J. O’SULLIVAN, JR., J.: Plaintiff-appellant, Angela Goddard, appeals the trial court’s award of summary judgment in favor of defendant-appellee, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (“GCRTA”). After a thorough review of the facts and the law, we affirm. On February 7, 2017, appellant slipped and fell at the Windermere transit station. According to appellant, it was “pouring” rain that day. It was raining when she left her house, so she took an umbrella. Appellant entered the Windermere transit station after getting off the train around 10:45 a.m. and it was still raining outside. To access the lower-level concourse, one must go inside the station, and “as soon as you turn left, there’s a ramp to go down.” Appellant was familiar with the Windermere station, testifying she had been through the station numerous times “every day.” According to appellant, the station was “well lit” and nothing was blocking her view as she entered the station and accessed the ramp. Appellant reached for the railing on the ramp, testifying that she always uses the railing due to problems with her knees. She began to walk down the ramp, slipped and fell, and injured her right knee. Appellant testified at the deposition that the floor “was like damp * * * dew from the heat and rain.” On February 5, 2019, appellant filed suit against appellee and five John Does in Cuyahoga C.P. Case No. CV-19-910587. She filed a notice of dismissal pursuant to Civ.R. 41(A), and the trial court dismissed her claim without prejudice on August 14, 2020. Appellant refiled her claim against appellee and the five John Does on March 31, 2021. In her complaint, appellant alleged that her fall at appellee’s Windermere transit station was due to appellee’s negligent design and maintenance of the station and its failure to warn her of the wet floor. Appellee moved for summary judgment. Appellant filed a brief in opposition, in which she attached an expert report from architect Richard Zimmerman (“Zimmerman”). Zimmerman opined, in part, that “* * * the unnatural accumulation of water on the hard, dense, smooth, porcelain tile surface of the incident with deficient traction strips directly and proximately caused Ms. Goddard’s fall and injury.” Zimmerman report (May 20, 2021), p. 8. The trial court granted summary judgment, holding, in part: “GCRTA is not liable for Plaintiff’s injuries because …

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