Earlier this month, the Nebraska Supreme Court issued a written opinion in a premises liability case, dismissing the plaintiff’s claim against the defendant grocery store because the plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence that the defendant caused, or even knew of, the dangerous condition that precipitated her fall. As a result of the court’s decision in the case, Edwards v. Hy-Vee, the plaintiff will not be entitled to recover compensation for her injuries.
Edwards slipped and fell on a piece of watermelon as she was leaving a grocery store that was owned and operated by Hy-Vee. After Edwards got up, she not only noticed that there was a watermelon seed stuck to the bottom of her shoe but also noticed that there was a store employee handing out free samples near the store’s exit.
After recovering from her injuries, Edwards filed a premises liability lawsuit against Hy-Vee, alleging that the store was negligent for either causing the dangerous condition to be present in the first place or failing to clean up the condition.
Plaintiffs Are Allowed to Argue Two Inconsistent Positions
In the case above, Edwards argued two different positions. First, she claimed that Hy-Vee caused the dangerous condition to come into existence by handing out watermelon samples in the store. Second, she argued that even if the grocer was not the cause of the watermelon on the floor, it was negligent for the grocer to not clean it up to prevent injuries to customers.
These two positions taken by Edwards are inconsistent. One assumes that a Hy-Vee employee dropped the watermelon on the floor himself, and the other assumes that he didn’t but that he should have known of the dangerous condition and taken action to clean it up. In South Florida personal injury cases, plaintiffs are permitted to take inconsistent positions just as Edwards did. In fact, it is very common for a personal injury plaintiff to make arguments in the alternative, meaning arguing several theories of negligence. And as long as one of the plaintiff’s theories is successful at trial, the plaintiff will be entitled to seek financial compensation under that theory.
Unfortunately for Edwards, the court rejected both of her arguments, noting that there was no evidence presented allowing the court to reasonably infer that Hy-Vee either caused the watermelon to end up on the floor or that the store employees even knew of its existence. The court seemed to believe that the most reasonable explanation was that another customer dropped the fruit on the floor shortly before Edwards fell.
Have You Been Injured in a South Florida Slip-and-Fall?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of South Florida slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Discussing your case with a dedicated and experienced attorney such as those at the personal injury law firm of Cecere Santana is an important first step in your path to recovery. With hundreds of successful cases under their belt, the skilled advocates at Cecere Santana know what it takes to succeed on behalf of their clients. Call 800-753-5529 to set up a free consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
State Supreme Court Rules for Defendant in Boating Accident Case, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published July 21, 2016.
Appellate Court Broadly Interprets Landowner’s Duty to Protect Visitors, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published July 28, 2016.