The decision was handed down in in the case of Steele v. City of Durham, which involved a trip-and-fall accident about 2.5 hours east of Greensboro, outside of Raleigh. The city had argued firstly that it wasn’t responsible for sidewalk maintenance on that particular strip and secondly that plaintiff was contributorily negligent. While in other jurisdictions, contributory negligence would simply reduce the amount of damages a plaintiff could collect, in North Carolina, it bars the claim entirely.
But the appeals court discredited both of the city’s claims, reversing an earlier trial court decision to grant summary judgment in favor of the city. The case has been remanded for trial. Continue reading