(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this personal injury case and its proceedings.)
It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this slip and fall case could just as easily occur at any of the supermarkets in the area, such as Safeway, Raley’s, Bel Air, SaveMart, Walmart, or Whole Foods.
The evidence shows that XYZ Market had repeated problems with employees logging their sweeps before they actually did them.
There is also evidence, from the testimony of Maggie Black and independent witness Burns, that Ms. Black did in fact slip on something wet. There is evidence from the testimony of Maggie and Charles Black that there was a substantial amount of liquid on the floor enough so that her pants were wet on the buttock and both legs. The testimony of various witnesses, including Tom Miller and Ms. Black, establishes that she sat on the floor where she fell while awaiting the ambulance. This shows how the liquid had time to soak into her jeans. A substantial amount of liquid on the floor should have been noticed by the XYZ Market employees working nearby. For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.
Under these facts, a reasonable jury could conclude:
1) XYZ Market employees involved in re-stocking activities created the dangerous condition on which plaintiff fell by either tracking in something wet from the back storage area or by transporting leaky product, or
2) The XYZ Market employees working in close proximity to where plaintiff fell should have seen the wet substance on the floor and cleaned it up, but were either negligent in not detecting it, or did see it but chose not to clean it up promptly. This is particularly true for the employee working the dairy case within five to six feet of the wet area.
Under jury scenario number (1), XYZ Market’s knowledge of the dangerous condition is presumed if an employee created the condition, and summary judgment would clearly not be appropriate. Hatfield v. Levy Brothers (1941) 18 Cal.2d 798, 806; Williams v. Carl Karcher Enterprises Inc. (1986) 182 Cal.App.3d 479, 491.
Under jury scenario number (2), the jury could find that XYZ Market employees either knew or should have known of the dangerous condition due to their proximity to the liquid, yet failed to take reasonable steps to warn of and/or correct the condition within a reasonable time (as required by common law and CACI 1001). Tom Miller has testified that an employee who spots any foreign substance on the floor is supposed to attend to it as soonas they can. XYZ Market’s own literature says that employees are supposed to immediately cone off wet areas and clean up the hazard. That obviously was not done in this case.
In conclusion, XYZ Market chooses to do its re-stocking activities at 8:30 in the morning, when there are very few customers present. There was clearly a lot of re-stocking activity and many employees on the sales floor. Ms. Black was the unfortunate victim of XYZ Market’s either creating the slip hazard or failing to clean it up. Whether XYZ Market is liable is a jury question and the motion should be denied. (See Part 11 of 12.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.