Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Shiny Floor Does Not Equal Negligence

In the case of Daniels v. Sears & Sears Roebucks & Co., No. 15-4827 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 10, 2016 Surrick, J.), the Eastern District Federal Court granted summary judgment in favor of a Defendant store owner after finding that the Plaintiff had failed to present sufficient evidence to establish that an unsafe condition caused her to fall.  

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff fell in a changing room in the store but could not state what caused her to fall. She admitted that she could point to no foreign substances on the floor either before or after her fall.  Rather, the Plaintiff attempted to get beyond the summary judgment stage by arguing that a juror could potentially and reasonably infer that the floor was slippery and dangerous with the presentation of evidence that the floor was unusually shiny.

Of note in this decision was the court’s conclusion that evidence that a floor was shiny does not, in and of itself, establish that an unsafe condition existed.  The court found that, to allow this case to proceed to a jury, would have subjected the case to impermissible speculation and conjecture on the part of the jury on the liability issues.

As such, summary judgment was granted in favor of the Defendant store.

Anyone wishing to review this decision in Daniels may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of Reed Smith Law Firm.   Please be sure to check out Attorney Beck’s excellent blog, the Drug and Device Law Blog.  

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