Florida Appeals Court Affirms Judgment in Premises Liability Case Where Property Owner had No Actual or Constructive Notice of Dangerous Condition: Walker v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc.

In Walker v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., a woman claimed that she was hurt when she fell on a wet floor while visiting a Florida grocery store. According to the woman’s complaint, she was accompanied to the store by a disabled friend who utilized an electric cart in order to shop. Following the 30-minute shopping trip, the woman apparently returned her friend’s scooter to the store while he waited in her vehicle. As she was returning the electric cart, it apparently began to mist rain outside. About one minute after the woman returned the scooter, she was allegedly injured when she slipped and fell inside of the store.

The woman testified that she did not see water on the floor prior to falling. She also stated the water was not noticeable, and she had no idea how long it may have pooled before she fell. In addition, the grocery store manager stated he did not know whether it began raining immediately prior to the woman’s injury accident or earlier in the day. Still, the manager stated the umbrella racks located near the entry and shown on surveillance video of the woman’s fall were only placed in the location if rain was anticipated or ongoing.

In response to the woman’s personal injury lawsuit, the grocery store denied negligence and filed a motion for summary judgment. In a motion for summary judgment, a party to a lawsuit asks the court to find that no meaningful facts are in dispute and that the moving party is entitled to win the case without proceeding to trial. According to the trial court, Section 768.0755 of the Florida Statutes requires that a property owner have actual or constructive notice of an allegedly dangerous condition in order to be held responsible for an individual’s slip-and-fall injury. Since there was no evidence offered to demonstrate the grocery store knew or should have known about the water on the floor at the time of the woman’s accident, the trial court granted the grocery store’s motion.

On appeal, Florida’s First District agreed with the trial court because the time frame at issue was too short to impute actual or constructive notice of the purportedly dangerous condition. In addition, the woman admitted the drops of water on which she fell were not noticeable. Since the evidence offered failed to demonstrate that the grocery store was aware or should have been aware of the supposed fall hazard, the appellate court affirmed the decision of the trial court and ruled in favor of the grocery store.

If you were injured in a premises liability accident anywhere in South Florida, the committed attorneys at Friedman, Rodman & Frank, P.A. may be able to help. To speak with a seasoned personal injury attorney about your case, contact Friedman, Rodman & Frank, P.A. through our website or give us a call today at (305) 448-8585.

Additional Resources:

Walker v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 1st Dist. 2014

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