Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Summary Judgment Denied in Federal Court Slip and Fall Case

In the case of Urrutia v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 3:18-CV-01254 (M.D. Pa. Oct. 27, 2020 Mariani, J.), the court denied the store’s Motion for Summary Judgment in a slip and fall matter. 

The court found issues of material fact as to whether an alleged green substance on the floor caused the Plaintiff to slip and fall and as to whether the Defendant had constructive knowledge of that alleged dangerous condition in the produce section of the store. 

According to the record before the court, the store manager testified that he had walked by the area where the Plaintiff fell several times in the hour before the Plaintiff’s incident and saw nothing on the floor. 

That same store manager also testified that he was about ten (10) feet away from the Plaintiff when she fell. When he went to assist the Plaintiff, the store manager admittedly saw something on the floor that was green and about the size of a half dollar. 

The court noted that the time period provided by the defense as to when the manager had walked passed the area were too imprecise to establish that the manager had inspected the produce area close enough in time of the Plaintiff’s fall in order to take the issue away from the jury’s consideration on whether the Defendant should be charged with constructive notice. 

The court additionally noted that the manager and an assistant manager failed to identify themselves on any of the video surveillance of the event in such a manner to support the finding that the Defendant store was entitled to summary judgment. 

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

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Nov. 19, 2020).

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