Thursday, January 28, 2010

TCA reverses lower court and dismisses slip and fall suit

LEITHA C. PERKINS and ROBERT L. PERKINS v. BIG LOTS STORES, INC. (Tenn. Ct. App September 16, 2008).

This is a slip-and-fall case. The plaintiff tripped on a floor mat and fell as she was entering the defendant's store. A store security video showed that the corner of the floor mat was overturned by another customer twenty-one seconds before the plaintiff fell. At the time that the corner of the mat became furled, the assistant store manager was at the service desk several feet from the entrance. He denied seeing the overturned mat. The plaintiff sued the store, alleging negligence in allowing a dangerous condition to persist and in failing to warn the plaintiff of it. After the trial, the jury found that the defendant store was eighty percent at fault and that the plaintiff was twenty percent at fault. The defendant store filed a motion for a new trial, alleging juror misconduct based on comments by jurors to the attorneys. The store also contended that the evidence showed that it did not have actual or constructive notice that the corner of the mat had become folded over. Finally, the store maintained that no reasonable jury could find that the plaintiff was less than fifty percent at fault for her own injuries. The trial court denied the motion and the defendant appeals. We reverse, finding no material evidence to support the jury's verdict, and dismiss the case.

The full text of this opinion may be found at the TBA website.

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