Last month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a premises liability case brought by a man who claimed he slipped and fell in a fast food restaurant. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss how lower courts should handle summary judgment motions filed by the defendant when conflicting facts exists. Since summary judgment is only appropriate when the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, when a court is presented with conflicting or contradictory theories, summary judgment is not appropriate, and the case should be presented to a jury for resolution of the contested facts.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff slipped and fell as he was exiting the restroom in the defendant fast food restaurant. According to the plaintiff, he fell after he exited the restroom but before he could reach the back of the line. Evidently, as he planted his left foot to make a right turn, his foot slipped out from underneath him. He claimed an oily substance on the floor caused his fall.
The restaurant presented the court with video evidence of the line, as well as the cash-register area. The video showed a man, who appeared to be the plaintiff, slipping but not falling. The restaurant claimed that this showed that the plaintiff was lying about falling and asked the court to strike his testimony. In the alternative, the restaurant argued that the hazard allegedly causing the plaintiff’s fall was “open and obvious” because the lobby area in the video had recently been mopped, and an employee placed a “wet floor” sign near the area to warn customers.
The court rejected both of the defendant’s arguments, holding that the case should be presented to a jury. The court explained that the video showing the plaintiff slipping was not necessarily inconsistent with his own testimony, since he claimed to have slipped immediately outside the restroom, rather than near the cash-register area. Similarly, the court found that the restaurant failed to prove that the alleged hazard was open and obvious because the video of the restaurant did not show the area where the plaintiff claimed to have slipped. The court seemed concerned that the restaurant did not provide video of this area and did not provide an explanation as to why it did not exist.
Have You Been Injured in an Indiana Slip-and-Fall Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in an Indiana slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Depending on the circumstances of the accident and the severity of your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and any pain and suffering you endured as a result of the accident. The skilled injury attorneys at the Indiana law firm of Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse have extensive experience representing clients in all types of personal injury matters, including slip-and-fall accidents. Call 888-532-7766 to schedule your free consultation today.
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