Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued an opinion in the case of Vasilenko v. Grace Family Church. The case was brought by a parishioner against the church after the parishioner was seriously injured in a pedestrian accident when attempting to walk from a church parking lot to the church. The court determined that, although the injury in a premises liability lawsuit must normally arise on the property owner’s land to be successful, that isn’t always the case.
Grace Family Church was located on a busy five-lane road. Immediately next to the church was a parking lot. However, since the parking lot was small, it would often fill up. To accommodate the growing demand for parking spaces, the church contracted with a nearby business owner to use his parking lot as an overflow lot when the smaller main lot was full.
The church had volunteer parking attendants who would direct traffic from the main lot to the overflow low when the main lot was full. There were also parking attendants in the overflow lot, showing parishioners where they could park. Importantly, however, there were no attendants to help the parishioners cross the street to get to the church.