Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Summary Judgment Granted in Restaurant Slip and Fall Case


In the case of Watson v. Boston Market, No. 17-5648 (E.D. Pa. March 22, 2019 DuBois, J.), the court granted summary judgment in a slip and fall case after the Plaintiff failed to provide evidence that the Defendant created a harmful condition or had actual or constructive notice of such a condition.  

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff slipped and fell on water on the floor of a restaurant bathroom. Thereafter, the Plaintiff saw water dripping from the ceiling light and onto the floor.  

The record before the court indicated that the restaurant manager testified that the restrooms were inspected on at least an hourly basis and that the subject bathroom had been checked approximately 45 minutes before the Plaintiff fell and that no liquid on the floor was found.  The manager also did not recall water ever dripping from the ceiling.  

In granting summary judgment for the defense, the court noted that the Plaintiff merely asserted, without explanation, that the ceiling was dripping.   The court also found that no evidence was prevented to show that the Defendant knew that there was water on the floor or that the ceiling had leaked on any prior occasion.  

The court also noted that the Plaintiff failed to provide any evidence that the Defendant had constructive notice of any alleged water on the floor where the Plaintiff admitted that there were no footprints, track marks, or slip marks on the floor.  

The court additionally noted that the Plaintiff’s argument that stains on the ceiling proved that the leak in the ceiling was a recurring condition failed because the stains on the ceiling did not, in and of themselves, establish that the Defendant should have been aware of a leaking ceiling or water on the floor on this particular occasion.   It was noted that the Plaintiff did not present any evidence to show that the stains were not old stains from a ceiling air conditioning unit that had been replaced six (6) months before the incident.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.”  Pennsylvania Law Weekly (April 16, 2019).  

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