Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Plaintiff's Trip and Fall Over Pallet of Products in Store Barred By Open and Obvious Doctrine

In the case of Ziadeh v. Wal-Mart, Inc., No. 1:22-CV-00094 (M.D. Pa. Jan. 2, 2024 Wilson, J.), the Middle District Court granted summary judgment to a store in a trip and fall case.

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff allegedly tripped over a pallet with supplies on it that was located within an aisle of the store.    

The court ruled that the object that the Plaintiff tripped over was sufficiently large and visible as to be considered to be open and obvious. As such, the court found that the Defendant did not owe the Plaintiff any duty under the open and obvious doctrine.

The court also found that the Plaintiff’s speculation about another similar object possibly being involved in the incident, the presence of which was not supported by any evidence, was insufficient to prevent the entry of summary judgment.

The court ruled that the question of whether a condition is open and obvious is an objective analysis, and one that does not require any subjective apprehension of danger by the Plaintiff.

In this case, the court found that the Defendant was entitled to rely upon the assumption that a Plaintiff would employ ordinary care to protect herself from obvious harm.

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

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

Source of image:  Photo by Justus Menke on

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