United States District Court, D. Maryland
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW, United States District Judge
pending and ready for resolution in this tort action are (1)
the motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary
judgment filed by Defendant the United States of America (the
“United States”) (ECF No. 33), and (2) the motion
for summary judgment filed by Defendants 6900 Wisconsin
Avenue LLC and WPC Management LLC (the “Landlord
Defendants”) (ECF No. 36). The issues have been
briefed, and the court now rules, no hearing being deemed
necessary. Local Rule 105.6. For the following reasons, both
motions will be granted.
Landlord Defendants own the building located at 6900
Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda, Maryland, which they lease to
the United States. (ECF No. 36-2, at 2). The United States
operates a branch of the United States Postal Service
(“USPS”) out of this location (the
“Bethesda Post Office”). (Id.). On
December 20, 2012, Plaintiff Karl Heinz Krey
(“Plaintiff”) entered the lobby of the Bethesda
Post Office at around 8:00 p.m. and slipped on a wet area of
the floor, which resulted in a broken hip. (ECF No. 33-2, at
at the Bethesda Post Office serve customers from 9:00 a.m. to
5:00 p.m. on weekdays. (ECF No. 33-3, at 19). According to
the Postal Operations Manual (“POM”), “[a]t
the postmaster's discretion, lobbies may remain open 24
hours a day to allow customers access to PO Boxes and
self-service equipment, provided that customer safety and
security provisions are deemed adequate by the Inspection
Service.” (ECF No. 33-6, at 108). While the Bethesda
Post Office service windows close at 5:00 p.m., the lobby
area remains open twenty-four hours per day pursuant to the
postmaster's decision under this POM provision. (ECF No.
33-3, at 19).
wet weather conditions, the Bethesda Post Office generally
follows procedures outlined in the Maintenance Handbook on
Floors, Care, and Maintenance (the “Maintenance
Handbook”) published by the USPS Office of Management
and Maintenance. The Maintenance Handbook states:
In order to avoid serious injuries caused by slips and falls
on wet floors, use the following guidelines:
k. Use Wet Floor signs freely and place them in high
visibility areas to alert employees and/or customers.
l. When possible, close off the area by barricading it with
m. During rainy or snowy weather, place safety matting in
employee/customer entrances, such as lobbies and vestibules.
n. Repeatedly mop up water that has been tracked in.
o. When mopping or scrubbing floors, complete work in one
small section at a time.
p. After scrubbing or wet mopping the floor, check it for a
slippery film. If a film is present, rescrub or mop the floor
using a neutralizer to remove the film.
(ECF No. 40-4, at 7). After the service windows close, the
last employee at the Bethesda Post Office usually checks the
condition of the lobby at around 6:30 p.m. (ECF No. 33-3, at
28). If the floor is wet, or if it is raining or snowing
outside, that employee will place additional matting and
yellow caution signs in the customer access area to ...