Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued an interesting opinion in a slip-and-fall case that presented the court with the opportunity to discuss the res ipsa loquitur doctrine. The case involved somewhat bare allegations made by the plaintiff that were unsupported by any other evidence. As a result, the court determined that the doctrine did not apply and that the lower court was proper not to infer that the defendant was negligent.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff slipped and fell through a set of wooden stairs at the home where she was living with the defendant. At the time, the defendant was the sole owner of the home. Several years after her fall, the plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit, seeking compensation for the injuries she sustained in the fall.
The plaintiff claimed that the stairs were rotted due to an insect infestation and that the defendant should have been aware of the problem and warned her of the potential danger. However, since the plaintiff had no evidence that the defendant knew of the stairs’ condition, she asked the court to apply the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur to infer that the defendant was negligent.