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Eurich v. Bass Pro Outdoor World, L.L.C.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

November 8, 2017

STEVEN EURICH, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
BASS PRO OUTDOOR WORLD, L.L.C. and CINTAS CORPORATION NO. 2, Defendants-Appellees.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, James S. Heckerman, Judge.

         Steven Eurich appeals a district court order granting summary judgment on his negligence claim. REVERSED AND REMANDED.

          Aaron F. Smeall of Smith, Gardner, Slusky, Lazer, Pohren & Rogers, L.L.P., Omaha, Nebraska, for appellant.

          Michael F. Scahill and David A. Blagg of Cassem, Tierney, Adams, Gotch & Douglas, Omaha, Nebraska, for appellee Bass Pro Outdoor World, L.L.C.

          Rubina S. Khaleel and Stephen P. Murray of Hennessy & Roach, P.C., Omaha, Nebraska, for appellee Cintas Corporation No. 2.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.

          MULLINS, Judge.

         Steven Eurich appeals a district court order granting summary judgment on his negligence claim. He contends the district court erred in granting summary judgment because it improperly applied the Restatement (Second) of Torts rather than the Restatement (Third) of Torts in determining whether the defendants, Bass Pro Outdoor World, L.L.C. (Bass Pro) and Cintas Corporation No. 2 (Cintas), owed a duty to him. He additionally argues the court improperly failed to rule upon the admission of an exhibit prior to its summary-judgment ruling.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         The following facts are undisputed. In February 2014, Eurich and his wife visited a Bass Pro establishment. Upon entering the store and the door closing behind him, Eurich noticed the rug in the entryway "had large wrinkles of about maybe 2 to 3 inches tall." He nevertheless attempted to traverse the rug. In doing so, his foot "got caught" on the rug and he ultimately fell to the floor, allegedly resulting in injury.

         Eurich filed a petition alleging negligence on the part of Bass Pro and Cintas. Both Bass Pro and Cintas denied any liability. Bass Pro and Cintas filed a joint motion for summary judgment, arguing there was "no genuine issue as to any material fact with regard to an alleged breach of duty." In their joint memorandum of authorities they argued, because Eurich admitted in his deposition that he saw the rug deficiency prior to attempting to step over it, he had knowledge of the dangerous condition and they therefore had no duty to Eurich and were not liable for his injuries. In his resistance, Eurich argued Bass Pro and Cintas's position relied on the Restatement (Second) of Torts and contended the standard therein "has been replaced by Iowa's adoption of the premises liability standard set forth in [the] Restatement (Third) of Torts."

         A hearing was held in which the parties offered arguments and exhibits. Three days after the hearing, Eurich submitted a proposed exhibit, an "affidavit of Steven Eurich, " and moved to reopen the evidence. Bass Pro and Cintas objected to the admission of the exhibit. Without ruling on the submission of the exhibit, the court subsequently granted Bass Pro and Cintas's motion for summary judgment, apparently basing its conclusion on the undisputed fact that Eurich was aware of the condition of the rug before he attempted to step over it. Eurich filed a motion to enlarge requesting the court to rule on the offer of the exhibit. The court overruled the motion and this appeal followed.

         II. Standard of Review

         "We review a district court ruling granting a motion for summary judgment for correction of errors at law." Plowman v. Fort Madison Cmty. Hosp., 896 N.W.2d 393, 398 (Iowa 2017) (quoting Estate of Gray ex rel. Gray v. Baldi, 880 N.W.2d 451, 455 (Iowa 2016)). Summary judgment is appropriate when "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and . . . the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Iowa R. Civ. P. 1.981(3). "We . . . view the record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and will grant that party all reasonable ...


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