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Slip-and-Fall Finding Requires Notice by Owner of Dangerous Condition
Description Verdict for store patron who slipped and fell on macaroni salad reversed by Texas high court. Court held that patron was only person who saw macaroni, which may not be sufficient evidence that store had constructive evidence of the danger.
Topic Torts
Key Words Negligence, Slip-and-Fall, Premises Liability
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Gonzalez slipped and fell on some cooked macaroni salad in a Wal-Mart cafeteria. She sued for negligence and was awarded $100,000. Wal-Mart appealed.
Decision Reversed. Wal-Mart owes invitees a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect them from dangerous conditions in the store that are known or discoverable to it. "To recover damages in a slip-and-fall case, a plaintiff must prove: (1) Actual or constructive knowledge of some condition on the premises by the owner/operator; (2) That the condition posed an unreasonable risk of harm; (3) That the owner/operator did not exercise reasonable care to reduce or eliminate the risk; and (4) That the owner/operators' failure to use such care proximately caused the plaintiff's injuries." Evidence is that no one except Gonzalez saw the macaroni. That is insufficient evidence to prove Wal-Mart had constructive knowledge of its presence.
Citation Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Gonzalez, 968 S.W.2d 934 (Sup. Ct., Tex., 1998)

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