Thursday, May 7, 2015

Summary Judgment Granted in Monroe County Slip and Fall Case (Wax Buildup on Supermarket Floor)

Summary Judgment was granted in a recent Monroe County decision by Judge Stephen M. Higgins in the premises liability case of Zangenberg v. Weis Markets, No. 10500 CV 2012 (C.P. Monroe Co. April 1, 2015 Higgins, J.).

The Plaintiff alleged personal injuries as a result of a slip and fall on the defendant's premises.  The Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment asserting that it had no actual or constructive notice of the alleged dangerous condition.

The Plaintiff asserted that she had met her burden of proof by pointing to issues with the application of wax to the floor of the store and/or with allegations of wax buildup rendering the floor slippery.

Judge Stephen Higgins
Monroe County
Judge Higgins disagreed, noting that that the Plaintiff had not produced evidence to show that an improper application of wax to the floor that created a dangerous condition so obvious as to amount to evidence from which an inference of negligence would arise. 

As an example of a different type of case where summary judgment should be denied, the court pointed to a situation of a wax buildup on a floor such that there was evidence of a skid mark by the heel of a shoe through the wax that raised sides up as if the shoe was sliding through mud.

Here, the court noted that the evidence only involved a black skid mark but there was no other concrete evidence to establish that that skid mark was caused by the Plaintiff's shoe at the time she fell.  After the Plaintiff's fall, neither the Plaintiff nor any store employee saw any evidence on the floor as to what caused the Plaintiff to fall.  The Plaintiff simply testified that it was slippery in the area where she fell.

However, the court saw no evidence that would have raised an inference that the store knew or should have known that the floor was slippery in the time leading up to the Plaintiff's incident.  As such, the defense motion for summary judgment was granted.

Anyone desiring a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

I send thanks to the prevailing defense attorney Meg Kelly, Esquire, of the Moosic, PA office of the Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin law firm.

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