Justices to review Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion’s summary judgment win in trip and fall lawsuit

By David Yates | May 20, 2013

Each year, thousands of Texans venture to the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in the Woodlands to enjoy their favorite touring bands. Now, the Ninth Court of Appeals must decide if the venue is responsible for concertgoers who trip and fall while returning to their cars.

This case stems from injuries suffered by plaintiff Andrea Vidrine on July 26, 2008, when she tripped and fell on inadequately lit steps, located on a path owned by defendant The Woodlands Land Development Co, an appeals brief states.

She was exiting the concert pavilion, owned by the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, to return to her car in a parking lot for the Pavilion. The Woodlands' property lies between the concert pavilion and the parking lot so patrons of the Pavilion must traverse the Woodlands' property.

Court records show that on March 11, 2010, Vidrine filed a liability suit in Montgomery County District Court against the Pavilion, and later added the Woodlands as a defendant.

In its Answer, the Woodlands asserted several affirmative defenses, including a claim that its liability was limited under the Texas Recreational Use Statute, the brief states.

Court records show that on April 13, 2012, a trial court granted both defendants’ motions for summary judgment, which eventually led Vidrine to file an appeal.

The case has been set for review on briefs.

In her appeal, Vidrine is questioning whether the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the Woodlands based on the assumption that the Recreational Use Statute applied.

The statute only applies to limit a landowner's liability if the injured party was engaged in recreation at the time of their injury. Vidrine was injured while walking from a concert at The Pavilion to her car located in a designated parking lot that was only accessible by crossing the Woodlands' property, the brief states.

Vidrine is represented in part by Houston attorney James M. Lassiter III.

Appeals case No. 09-12-003 78-CV

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