LISA PRIESTAS ET AL.
KIA PROPERTIES, LLC ET AL.
Session November 14, 2019
from the Circuit Court for Shelby County No. CT-005046-15
Robert Samual Weiss, Judge.
premises liability case, Mr. Priestas, an independent
contractor, filed suit against Appellees, the owner/landlord
and lessee of a convenience store, seeking damages for
injuries he sustained during an attempted robbery at the
store. The trial court granted Appellees' motion for
summary judgment, finding that: (1) the lessee did not breach
its duty because: (a) Mr. Priestas was an independent
contractor; (b) he was aware of the danger at the store; and
(c) he was warned that the store had been robbed on several
occasions; and (2) the owner/landlord was not liable because
of the general rule of nonliability of a landlord for harm
caused to a third party on leased premises. Discerning no
error, we affirm.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Court Affirmed and Remanded.
L. Jewel, Memphis, Tennessee, and Lucille Anne Jewel,
Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lisa Priestas.
I. Houseal, Jr., and Andre B. Mathis, Memphis, Tennessee, for
the appellees, Kia Properties, LLC, and Chinai Food &
Armstrong, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
J. Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S. and Carma Dennis McGee, J.,
December 9, 2015, Gary Priestas and his wife, Lisa Priestas
("Appellant"), filed a premises liability action in
the Circuit Court of Shelby County, Tennessee (the
"trial court"). The Priestases sought damages for
injuries sustained by Mr. Priestas when he was shot during a
robbery at property owned by Kia Properties, LLC
("Kia") and leased for use as a convenience store
by Chinai Food & Fuel, LLC ("Chinai," and
together with Kia, "Appellees").
18, 2017, Appellees filed a joint motion for summary
judgment. One year later, on May 18, 2018, Appellant filed a
response in opposition to the motion for summary judgment.
However, Appellant did not file a response to the statement
of undisputed material facts, nor did Appellant file a
statement setting forth disputed facts in opposition to the
motion for summary judgment. As such, the facts of the case,
as set forth by Appellees, are undisputed for purposes of
summary judgment. Appellees' statement of undisputed
material facts provides:
1. At all times pertinent, Kia owned real property located at
9112 Austin Peay Highway, Millington, Tennessee 38053 (the
2. In September 2014, Chinai entered into an installment
sales contract with Kia to purchase the property.
3. At all pertinent times, Chinai operated a convenience
store and fuel station.
4. In early 2015, Plaintiff Gary Priestas drove by Chinai
store and noticed a number of police cars at the store.
5. Mr. Priestas stopped his car and walked inside the store
and spoke with one of the owners of Chinai, Manish
Chinaiwala. Mr. Chinaiwala advised Mr. Priestas that the
store had just been robbed.
6. A few days later, Mr. Priestas was at the Chinai store and
Mr. Chinaiwala asked Mr. Priestas if he could work at Chinai
a few hours a day to perform tasks such as stocking the
store's coolers and cleaning up inside and outside of the
7. Mr. Priestas began working at Chinai in February 2015.
8. Mr. Chinaiwala informed Mr. Priestas that Chinai had been
burglarized/robbed on ...