Attorney David I. Fuchs
Feb. 20, 2014
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida will allow a customer injured in a slip-and-fall accident at a local Target to proceed with his negligence lawsuit, personal injury lawyers in Fort Lauderdale report. The court stated that the man’s case should be decided by a jury, citing the state’s negligence laws and the duty owed by a business to a consumer.
While shopping at a Target store in Florida, the plaintiff turned his cart down in aisle, slipped in spilled white wine, and fell. Prior to his fall, another customer had broken a bottle of wine, which spilled all over the aisle floor. A Target employee determined that the mess was too big to clean up for one person, so he marked off the spill with a safety cone, and went to find another employee to assist in cleaning up the mess. In the time the employee was gone, the plaintiff turned the corner, walking straight into the puddle. The employee claimed that he tried to yell a warning to the customer, but did not reach him in time to prevent the fall.
In his lawsuit, the injured man claims that Target was negligent in protecting its customer from harm, and that the store failed to maintain reasonably safe conditions in their store, or to properly warn customers about potentially hazardous conditions in the aisles. As evidence, the court reviewed time-stamped images from the store’s video surveillance cameras, and found that the man fell less than two minutes after the wine was spilled.
In their decision, the Court stated that it was not clear whether Target and the store’s employees were negligent in their handling of the spilled wine. The lawsuit claims that, by leaving the aisle to get help in cleaning up the spill, the original employee left the dangerous situation unattended, and open for customers to get hurt. The man who fell argued that the one cone did little good, especially for him, as he did not see it before entering the aisle. Furthermore, he said that one cone was an insufficient warning for a spill across an entire aisle.
In denying Target’s motion for summary judgment on the man’s lawsuit, the District Court said, “Within the context of a suit against a business owner for the on-premises injuries of a customer, the business owner owes the duties: (1) to take ordinary and reasonable care to keep its premises reasonably safe for the customer and (2) to warn of perils that were known or should have been known to the owner and of which the customer could not discover through the exercise of due care.” The court’s ruling will allow the man’s case to move to a court setting, where a jury can determine whether the store’s actions were negligent or sufficient in protecting the customer.
Shopping should be a fun activity, not a dangerous one. If you have been injured as a result of potentially negligent behavior at a department store, grocery, or other public shopping center, contact a personal injury attorney at David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyers, P.A., located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.