When Slip-and-Fall Falls Short
Jamal McBroom and Ivan Garcia
In a world changing as rapidly as the concept of liability is evolving, clients need a firm with an approach anchored in strategy, a stellar track record, and an unmatched commitment to success. That’s us. The most recent exemplification of this promise: Our most recent case victory.
In this recent liability defense case, Rissman attorney Jamal McBroom secured summary judgment for the defense. The case in question involved a slip-and-fall matter at a large global retailer.
The plaintiff was walking through the store in question when, per surveillance footage, his flip-flop flew from his foot and he slipped and fell. The plaintiff, however, alleged that there must have been something on the ground that caused him to fall.
At his deposition, he testified that he didn’t notice anything on the floor before or after the fall and that he didn’t see any substance while he was in the store. He also testified that he left the store without speaking to any Walmart employees about a substance or incident, and never told any Walmart employees where he fell.
After his deposition, the Rissman team moved for summary judgment. A day before the hearing, the plaintiff’s counsel called, indicating that they were going to file a Motion to Compel Better Discovery responses and that the plaintiff was going to file an errata sheet (which he alleged was never provided to the plaintiff).
The motion indicated that the plaintiff hadn’t viewed the video until after his deposition, despite the retailer providing the video before, and that there was a “black object” that caused the plaintiff to fall. Ultimately, the black object was, in fact, his shoe.
The plaintiff’s counsel filed the Motion to Compel and then the response to the motion for summary judgment the same day, alleging that the errata sheet was not provided and created an issue of fact with the alleged black object.
At the hearing, the Rissman team pointed out that the response to the motion was only made a day before the hearing, and that the argument about viewing the video after the deposition was without merit, as the plaintiff had the opportunity to watch it beforehand. We also noted the lack of substance to the object-on-the-ground argument itself.
The judge was not pleased with the late response to the motion and filed a motion to compel. The motion was granted on the basis of no substance being on the floor, as the plaintiff wasn’t able to identify it, as well as based on the fact that the plaintiff didn’t speak to the retailer’s employees about a substance or his fall until days later.
Therefore, the judge found that there was no issue of material fact for actual or constructive notice, and granted summary judgment. Particular thanks to Rissman Attorney Ivan Garcia for helping with the research and briefing in this matter.