Monday, August 29, 2022

Spoliation of Surveillance Video in Store Serves to Defeat Store's Motion for Summary Judgment in Slip and Fall Case

In the case of Defrehn v. TJX Co., No. 20-5762 (E.D. Pa. July 26, 2022 Robreno, J.), the court denied summary judgment in a premises liability case. 

The court noted that the record revealed that the Defendant failed to retain surveillance video that could have established notice on the part of the Defendant of the spill upon which the Plaintiff allegedly slipped and fell. As such, the court found that the Plaintiff was entitled to adverse inference that the video was not preserved because it contained evidence that was unfavorable to the Defendant.

The court noted that this adverse inference served to defeat the Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment.

The court additionally generally noted that, while footprints through a spill, standing alone, are not sufficient to preclude summary judgment, in this case the Plaintiff testified that she not only saw footprints through the spill but that there was a mop, bucket, and a "Wet Floor" sign in the area prior to the Plaintiff's fall.

As such, the Plaintiff asserted that the Defendant had taken remedial steps, which created an inference of notice.  The court agreed and found that this evidence could lead a reasonable jury to conclude that the Defendant had notice of the condition prior to the Plaintiff's fall and failed to remedy it.  The court found this to be an additional basis upon which to deny the Motion for Summary Judgment.

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

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of the Reed Smith law firm in Philadelphia, PA for bringing this case to my attention.

Source of image:  Photo by Nothing Ahead on

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