In: Other Topics
Pa 201Sonja A. Soehnel, J.D, Liability of operator of grocery store to invitee slipping on spilled liquid or semiliquid substance, 24 A.L.R 4th 696 (1983)
§ 19[a] No observation of spill by invitee—Contributory negligence
In the following cases there was no evidence that the stores were aware of the spillages before the accident occurred thus the court’s held that the customer’s contributory negligence was established. In Romeo v Jumbo Market (1967, 5th Dist) 247 Cal App 2d 817, 56 Cal Rptr 26, the court found in favour of the store when the defendant slipped and fell on a bottle of broken cheeries whilst not paying attend to where she was walking. There was substantial evidence to find contributory negligence on behalf of the customer.
In Munoz v Applebaum's Food Market, Inc. (1972) 293 Minn 433, 196 NW2d 921, a customer slipped and fell after walking in a puddle of water which was of such size that is was easy to see and avoid. The court was of the opinion that the defect was obvious and not hidden that the store owner had no duty towards the customer.
In H. E. Butt Grocery Co. v Johnson (1949, Tex Civ App) 226 SW2d 501,a customer sustained injuries after slipping and falling due to a spill occurring from a soft drink. The courts finally ruled in favour of the defendant.
In Fondell v Lucky Stores, Inc. (1978) 85 Wis 2d 220, 270 NW2d 205, a customer slipped and fell after a bottle of liquid cleaner became broken. Negligence was found on both sides , then the decision was reversed and the customer was found to be casually negligent.
What Did I learn?
I have learnt from the cases above that negligence can go both ways. But also that negligence can be at the door of the client. Our client slipped and fell on shampoo, she could be blamed for casual negligence for not looking where she is going and for being distracted. She did not pay due care and attention to the direction of her travel.