A Tisbury resident is suing Stop & Shop over injuries sustained in the Edgartown store’s parking lot, as a result of alleged “negligent, reckless, and careless” maintenance of the grounds.
The complaint, filed with the Dukes County Superior Court earlier this month, claims that upon exiting the Upper Main Street supermarket on the evening of Sept. 10, Kathleen Phillips struggled to push her shopping cart over a walkway in what she describes as a dimly lit parking lot, resulting in a serious fall.
In the court filing, Phillips’ attorney claims that for the past three years, Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. has largely failed to address degradation of its parking area, which is a violation of the state’s building code and local bylaws.
“The surface of the parking lot included brick pavers that were in disrepair, being both deteriorated and missing,” the complaint argues. Stop & Shop “knew or should have known of the danger associated with the brick pavers.”
The place where the plaintiff fell in the parking lot was an accessible route, the complaint says. According to the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board Rules and Regulations, commercial parking areas must be “free of obstructions, providing a smooth and level surface to pass over.”
Specifically, “walkways shall have continuous common surfaces, not interrupted by steps or changes in level greater than ¼ inch.”
Per the state codes, “all buildings and structures and all parts thereof, both existing and new, and all systems and equipment therein which are regulated by this code shall be maintained in a safe, operable, and sanitary condition. All service equipment, means of egress, devices, and safeguards which are required in a building or structure, or which were required by a previous statue in a building or structure, when erected, altered, or repaired, shall be maintained in good working order.”
Additionally, Edgartown bylaws state “all required parking areas, except those serving residential premises, shall be dustless, durable, composed of an all-weather surface, designed to adequately handle drainage, and designed to prevent dust, erosion, water accumulation, and unsightly conditions.”
In addition to violating state and town rules, the complaint claims that Stop & Shop failed to be in compliance after having been ordered by the Edgartown planning board to repair the deteriorating areas of the parking lot.
According to April 7, 2020, meeting minutes, the town’s planning board approved a special permit for the supermarket’s proposed construction of a temporary outdoor display for various garden products. That approval was contingent upon outdoor surfaces being regularly checked and properly maintained, replacement of any missing bricks, and immediate repair of potholes on the property.
The planning board also ordered that “all sidewalks shall be cleaned daily and properly maintained on a regular basis,” along with maintaining “the brick walkway between the two parking areas near the front door wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, shopping carts, and strollers in two directions, keeping it free of shopping carts and bicycles.”
Phillips alleges that as a result of Stop & Shop’s failure to adequately maintain the parking lot, she sustained “severe and permanent” bodily injury, preventing her from attending to her usual affairs.
She is now seeking reimbursement for medical expenses incurred, and has filed a demand for a jury trial.
Stop & Shop has not yet responded to the complaint in court. Company legal representatives did not immediately respond for comment.