New book from Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers on Premises Liability.
Reviewed by William C. Roeger
(08/27/2003)--Pennsylvania Premises Liability: Law & Forms by Stephen M. Greecher Jr., David B. Kline, Martin G. Rubenstein, Arthur L. Bugay, Alan M. Feldman, Jonathan S. McAnney & Julius Pereira III (Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, 328 pp.)
A while back there were commercials on television for Prego Spaghetti Sauce. The tag line in those commercials was “Itâ€™s in there!” Whatever ingredient the person asked about the answer was always the same: “Itâ€™s in there!” This book, Pennsylvania Premises Liability: Law & Forms, is much like that jar of Prego Spaghetti Sauce. Within the inherent limits of a one-volume text, whatever premises issue you ask about the answer is the same—”Itâ€™s in there!”
Any analysis of the law of premises liability begins with the duty owed to the plaintiff by the owner or possessor of the land. That duty often depends upon the status of the plaintiff. Is the plaintiff a business invitee, a licensee or a trespasser? Like our jar of spaghetti sauce, “itâ€™s in there.” The text contains a thorough discussion of these issues.
Snow and ice cases? They are in there also—from natural accumulations to hills and ridges, with a nice flavoring of the law on isolated patches of ice and the always tasty issue of defective conditions of the property as the cause. They are all in there. I particularly enjoyed some of the complaint forms in this area, especially one entitled “Icy Steps Due to Run-off of Melted Snow From the Roof.”
What about “Inadequate Security Cases,” where the crime victim is left uncompensated? You betcha, itâ€™s in there. In this area the authors cover everything from Columbine-type attacks and terrorists attacks to bar and tavern liability and attacks at ATM Machines and in mall parking lots. There is even an insightful discussion of the application of the new Joint and Several Liability Law.
Elevators and Escalators—Yes, that is in there also. Since I have handled a number of these cases, I tasted this section with interest. The flavor was outstanding and opened my senses in new and meaningful ways. I found this section particularly well organized, simple and easy to read, and at the same time, thorough. They even covered proposed Points for Charge.
There is a chapter specifically devoted to the Defense of Premises Cases and one on the Needs, Roles and Use of Experts in these cases, which is written from the perspective of an expert. The enclosed forms run the gamut from Complaints, to Interrogatories, Requests for Production, Jury Instructions, Subpoenas, Pretrial Memos and Expert Checklists. In addition, the entire text, including all of the forms, is on a CD-Rom, which is included without additional charge.
Yes, if it applies to Premises Liability and you can put it in a one-volume text, itâ€™s in there.
Bill Roeger, a principal in the Bucks and Lehigh County law firm of Roeger & Walker, is a member of PaTLA and former Comptroller for the Association.