Case: Eastern District Grants Motion for Summary Judgment in Slip and Fall Case
Counsel: Alice Spitz and Mary B. Dolan Roche
Result: Case Dismissed
Plaintiff claimed she slipped and fell on the tiled floor of the defendant’s store during the holiday season but she was unable to identify the cause of her fall. Since plaintiff observed an employee spraying a display case with glass cleaner, she speculated that her shoes might have tracked the glass cleaner on her shoes through nearly 10 feet of carpeting and on to the tiled floor. Plaintiff also retained an architect as an expert to provide an opinion regarding whether the floors were excessively slippery, After three visits, two sets of tests, the expert was only able to conclude that the condition of the floor changed on any given day.
Four employees of the defendant were on site within one minute of plaintiffs fall and none observed any condition on the floor. The ambulance call report indicated that the floor was free from hazards. MSD located the responding EMTs, who testified that they, looked but did not observe any hazard on the floor.
Judge Brian Cogan granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. Judge Cogan found that the plaintiff offered nothing but speculation as to the cause of her fall and therefore she failed to meet her burden to show that the defendant created a condition or had notice of a condition. Judge Cogan also held that he would have to exclude plaintiff’s expert on the grounds that as an architect his report and testimony offered nothing to aid the jury and that he was not qualified to opine as to the slip-resistance of the floor.
Read the decision here.