Baker Sterchi Obtains Dismissal for International Restaurant Chain Company
Baker Sterchi recently obtained dismissal of all claims against its client, an international restaurant chain company, in a negligence action. The case arose out of a slip and fall incident that plaintiff alleged caused him to require ankle surgery, treatment for soft tissue injuries to his shoulder, and related permanent limitations. Specifically, plaintiff alleged that he slipped and fell on ice-covered concrete steps as he walked to his car in the restaurant parking lot. The restaurant filed a motion to dismiss the claim on procedural grounds, arguing plaintiff failed to carry his burden to meet Missouri’s fact-pleading standard because – among other deficiencies – the petition did not include sufficient factual allegations to establish the defendant owed a duty to plaintiff. The Circuit Court of Taney County, Missouri, held oral arguments on the motion during which plaintiff asked the court to consider information outside the pleadings, including communications between plaintiff’s counsel and the restaurant’s alleged insurance adjuster. Following oral arguments, the court requested that the defendant convert its motion to dismiss to a motion for summary judgment to allow the court to consider information outside the pleadings. After the converted motion for summary judgment and supporting brief were filed, plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the restaurant and simultaneously asked the court to allow the case to survive without a named defendant until a proper defendant could be named. The court dismissed the case with prejudice sua sponte.