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Florida Court Holds Determination of Whether Grocery Store Had Knowledge of Spill Was a Question for the Jury

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida premises liability case brought by a woman who slipped and fell while in a Whole Foods grocery store. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss whether the plaintiff’s evidence was sufficient to survive a summary judgment challenge regarding the store’s knowledge of the hazard that caused the plaintiff’s fall.

Legal News GavelUltimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff did present sufficient evidence to give rise to a material issue of fact. Thus, the court held that summary judgment was not proper.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was shopping in a Whole Foods grocery store when she slipped and fell near the self-service food section. The plaintiff, through an interpreter, explained that she was not in a rush at the time and did not see the substance prior to her fall. She claimed that she stepped on a dirty, greasy area of the floor, which caused her to fall. The plaintiff also explained that it seemed as though other people had stepped in the substance. The plaintiff’s son testified as well, consistently with his mother.

Whole Foods submitted evidence that there is a store policy of inspecting the aisles every 15 minutes. However, there was also evidence that there was no follow-up inspection for the 69 minutes following the plaintiff’s fall. And while there was a surveillance camera pointing at the area, the store only preserved less than a minute of footage. Later, the store admitted that the video footage would have been the best evidence to view the spill and whether an employee had attempted to clean it up.

Whole Foods moved for summary judgment, arguing that there was no evidence establishing that it had knowledge of the spill. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

The appellate court issued a very brief opinion stating that the lower court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the grocery store. The opinion noted that the evidence presented by the plaintiff was sufficient to raise a material issue of fact regarding whether the store knew or should have known about the spill. Thus, the plaintiff’s case will proceed toward trial or settlement negotiations.

Have You Been Injured in a Florida Slip-and-Fall Accident?

If you have been injured in a Florida slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you have sustained through a Florida premises liability lawsuit. The dedicated Florida personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Cecere Santana have extensive experience representing Florida premises liability plaintiffs in cases against businesses and other landowners who fail to safely maintain their property. To learn more, call 800-753-5529 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today. Since we work on a contingency fee basis, we will not bill you for our services unless we are able to help you recover the compensation you deserve.

See Additional Blog Posts:

Government Agency Opens Investigation Following Fatal Florida Tesla Accident, South Florida Injury Attorneys Blog, May 30, 2018.

Recovering Compensation After a Florida Hit-and-Run Accident, South Florida Injury Attorneys Blog, published May 16, 2018.

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