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Alleged negligent maintenance of supermarket parking lot - Plaintiff bicyclist allegedly strikes depression and falls from bike - Liability only.

Middlesex County

The female plaintiff bicyclist in her 30’s contended that an approximately 40 foot long, two inch wide and one inch deep depression was present in the area where two portions of the asphalt lot met. The plaintiff’s engineer contended that this depression created a hazard which the plaintiff maintained resulted in the tire of her bike stopping short, propelling her to the ground.

The defendant contended that the alleged defect only constituted a seam which was created more than ten years earlier in conjunction with the paving process and the defendants supermarket and shopping center owner denied that it constituted a hazard. The Statute of Repose, precluding an action against a contractor for alleged defects created more than p 7 3 ten years before an accident, applied and the contractor’s motion for dismissal was granted at the close of the plaintiff’s case. The defendant’s engineer maintained that the seam was not sufficiently wide or deep to cause the bike to stop short. The defendant also questioned whether the accident occurred, pointing to the absence of a report at the scene and the inability of the plaintiff to identify the individual who purportedly assisted her at the scene and drove her home. The jury found for the defendants.

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