South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Slip-and-Fall Victim in Grocery Store Fails to Show Negligence
Description A woman who slipped and fell on a grape that was on the floor of a grocery store, could not recover for her injuries because she failed to establish negligence on the part of the store that was the proximate cause of her injury.
Topic Torts
Key Words Premises Liability; Slip and Fall; Evidence
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts No one saw Katherine Allen when she slipped and fell on a grape that was on the floor at a Brookshire Food Store. There was no evidence about how the grape got on the floor nor how long it had been there, although a store manager had looked through the produce area about 15 minutes before the accident. Allen sued and the jury assessed damages of $10,000. Brookshire appealed, contending there was insufficient evidence to support the jury’s finding.
Decision

Reversed. A landowner owes an invitee a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect an invitee from those risks of which the owner is actually aware and those risks of which the owner should be aware after reasonable inspection. A plaintiff seeking to recover as an invitee for injuries sustained on premises can establish defendant’s liability for knowledge of potentially harmful conditions in one of three ways: 1) prove defendant caused the harmful condition; 2) prove defendant knew of the harmful condition and negligently failed to remove it; or 3) prove the harmful condition was present for so long that it should have been discovered or removed in exercise of reasonable care. Allen failed to establish one of these conditions and so cannot recover.

Citation Brookshire Food Stores, L.L.C. v. Allen, 93 S.W.3d 897 (Ct. App., Tex., 2002)

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