New Day, Different Slip and Fall Outcome

I wrote yesterday that about a Michigan court that threw out a slip and fall lawsuit in a convenience store. Today, I’m writing about a Missouri Court of Appeals decision to overturn a entry of summary judgment for a convenience store in an premises liability lawsuit.

In this case, the plaintiff claims she hurt her ankle leaving a Baumer’s convenience store after slipping and falling on a hole. Her reason for not seeing the hole that she tripped on was that she was carrying the beer and newspaper that she bought at the store. Apparently, her foot went into a hole and turned sideways as she stepped off the curb outside Baumer’s entrance.

Defendant sought summary judgment contending plaintiff did not see any unsafe condition and really does not know what caused her fall. The trial court granted the motion.

A Missouri appellate court reversed, finding that plaintiff clearly alleges at least that her foot felt like it went partly in a hole. When supported by pictures showing a cracked or uneven surface, the appellate court found that there was a reasonable inference that plaintiff felt what the photos show caused her to fall.

The big difference between today’s case and yesterday’s case? Yesterday, no one knew how long the hazard existed. In today’s case, we know it is far more likely than not that the allegedly defective condition was there at the time of the fall.

You can read the full opinion in Tiger v. Quality Transportation here.

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