Bill Celebrezze successfully defended a Jimmy John’s franchise in a negligence lawsuit. The plaintiff alleged that the franchise was negligent for not having any markings on a glass pane in its vestibule. The vestibule is located just inside the franchise’s front door, but before the interior entry door. On November 21, 2015, the plaintiff entered the vestibule, walked forward with full stride about eight feet, and collided with the glass pane, which caused his alleged injuries.At the pre-trial hearing on motions in limine, Bill argued for the exclusion of much of the plaintiff’s evidence, and the district court granted all of these motions. Bill then advised the district court that he intended to bring a motion for directed verdict following the plaintiff’s opening statement, due to his lack of evidence as to duty or breach of duty. The district court agreed to entertain the motion at the motion in limine hearing, and after Bill’s argument, granted summary judgment in favor of the Jimmy John’s franchise.
After his lawyer withdrew, the plaintiff appealed the decision to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Again, Bill successfully defended the Jimmy John’s franchise. The appellate court affirmed the district court, holding that the condition of the glass pane in the vestibule was “open and obvious,” such that the danger of walking into it was apparent to a reasonable person exercising ordinary perception, intelligence, and judgment.