Saturday, January 4, 2014

Asper v. Haffley case brief

Asper v. Haffley case brief summary
458 A.2d 1364 (1983)

Appellant administratrix sought review of an order by the Court of Common Pleas, Clinton County (Pennsylvania), which granted the motion of appellee landlord for summary judgment and which dismissed appellant's actions for negligence and for strict liability for maintaining a building in violation of the Fire and Panic Act, 35 Pa. Stat. § 1221 et seq.

Decedent died of smoke inhalation in a fire which occurred in the apartment that her father rented from appellee landlord. Appellant administratrix instituted proceedings against appellee. Appellee's motion for summary judgment was granted on the grounds that appellant had not alleged sufficient facts on which appellee could be held liable on a theory of negligence, that appellee could not be found strictly liable for maintaining a building in violation of 34 Pa. Code § 37.3, and that appellant could not amend her complaint to incorporate a theory of strict liability because her request was untimely.


  • The court reversed the order. 
  • The court held that appellant's negligence claim presented a question of fact because the facts alleged, and reasonable inferences therefrom, were sufficient, if proved, to support a finding that a dangerous condition existed with respect to the premises leased, that the landlord was aware of the dangerous condition and failed to exercise reasonable care to correct the condition, and that the existence of the condition was in violation of an implied warranty of habitability. 
  • Dismissal of the other claims was proper.
The court reversed the grant of summary judgment in favor of appellee landlord on appellant administratrix's claim for negligence. The court held that the facts alleged were sufficient to raise a question of fact. There was a fact issue as to whether appellee was in violation of an implied warranty of habitability. The other claims were properly dismissed.

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