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Trumbull Insurance Co. v. Courtyard Management Corporation

United States District Court, D. Maryland

July 28, 2015

TRUMBULL INSURANCE COMPANY as subrogee for Daniel R. Hryciak, et al.
v.
COURTYARD MANAGEMENT CORPORATION

MEMORANDUM OPINION

DEBORAH K. CHASANOW, District Judge.

Presently pending and ready for resolution in this negligence case is a motion for partial summary judgment filed by Plaintiffs Trumbull Insurance Company, as subrogee for Daniel J. Hryciak, and Daniel R. Hryciak (collectively, "Plaintiffs"). (ECF No. 13). The issues have been fully briefed, and the court now rules, no hearing being deemed necessary. Local Rule 105.6. For the following reasons, Plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment will be denied.

I. Background

A. Factual Background

Unless otherwise noted, the following facts are undisputed. Daniel R. Hryciak ("Mr. Hryciak") is employed by Reeds Jewelers, Inc. ("Reeds") as a district supervisor. On August 7, 2013, Mr. Hryciak was a registered guest at the Dulles Marriott Hotel in Virginia, where he attended a business function for Reeds, conducting interviews at a job fair for Reeds's new location. (ECF No. 16-7, at 3, Hryciak depo.). The Dulles Marriott is operated by Defendant Courtyard Management Corporation ("Courtyard" or "Defendant"). (ECF No. 10 ¶ 3). Reeds was insured by Trumbull Insurance Company for its employees' compensation liabilities.

While a guest at the Dulles Marriott, Mr. Hryciak slipped and fell on August 7, 2013. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 5). Mr. Hryciak testified during his deposition taken in January 2015 that he was sitting at the Bistro in the hotel lobby doing paperwork before the incident. (ECF No. 16-7, at 3, Hryciak depo.). In his deposition, Mr. Hryciak stated that he left the Bistro area twice - once to go to the restroom and once to go up to his room to get a brief that he needed. ( Id. at 4). He stated that when he initially got up to go to the restroom, he did not notice anything unusual about the floor surface. ( Id. ). Mr. Hryciak explained the route he took to go to the restroom:

I came from the table and walked towards the corner where I later slipped, went down the hallway and the bathroom, I believe, if I remember correctly, was down there to the left, I believe. I stay in a lot of hotels, so that's - but I believe that's where I was.

He stated that he walked down the same hall where he later slipped both times.

Mr. Hryciak stated in his deposition that he did not remember seeing any "Wet Floor" signs when he walked to the restroom at the end of the hallway, but he recalls "the hall being wet all the way down the hall where the pool door is." (ECF No. 16-7, at 4). He said the floor visibly was wet so he had to walk around it. He saw a small puddle of two to three inches which he walked around.

Mr. Hryciak returned to the Bistro area after he went to the restroom. He stated that the wet area still was there when he returned to the Bistro. He did not report the wet area, however, because he "[d]idn't even think of that. It's a usual occurrence at hotels outside the pool door, in [his] experience." ( Id. at 4-5). There are some inconsistencies in Mr. Hryciak's recollection of the events that led up to his fall and the actual fall, which will be discussed in the analysis section.

Mr. Hryciak stated that after he left the Bistro a second time to go to his hotel room, he fell: "I left my chair, walked towards the hallway. As soon as I went to turn the corner into the hall, my feet went out from under me and I fell back and came down on my right elbow." (ECF No. 16-7, at 5). The incident report from that day, prepared by the Operations Manager at the Dulles Marriott, Michael Lizon ("Mr. Lizon"), indicates that the incident occurred at approximately 2:30 p.m. in the hotel lobby. Mr. Lizon submitted an affidavit, explaining:

In my role as Operations Manager, I had the opportunity to review and investigate the facts surrounding Plaintiff Hryciak's claims arising from an alleged incident that occurred at the subject hotel on August 7, 2013. I arrived at the scene of the alleged incident and spoke with Mr. Hryciak and Mr. Robert Kenny and I wrote out an Incident Report (Exhibit A) wherein I wrote down what they told me.

(ECF No. 16-5 ¶ 3). The Incident Report provides the following details:

Was sitting in Bistro chatting w[ith] co[-]worker. Went up to use restroom - when walked around the corner to the hall where restroom is located, guest slipped on wet floor. Wet floor signs was down at the end of the hallway. Floor did not appear wet - more greasy/soapy. Guest in lobby (witness) came over to assist. Mr. Hryciak slipped and fell on arm/elbow. No emergency services needed - may see doctor back home.
Witness - was in lobby - did not see guest fall - ran over - guest was on left side complaining of right arm pain. Witness saw wet floor sign down at the end of hall. ...

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