- Plaintiff’s Slip and Fall Case Dismissed Against Walgreens, Roseland, New Jersey
- November 4, 2011
- Law Firm: Mark Galusha LLC - Basking Ridge Office
The plaintiff, Cordasco, went to a Walgreens store in Roseland, NJ to purchase Kleenex and pantyhose. The plaintiff gathered her items and walked down the aisle toward the checkout lanes. En route, Plaintiff approached two self service bins containing merchandise. As she proceeded to the front of the bins, she slipped and fell, injuring her right shoulder, neck and left knee. Although the plaintiff did not notice anything on the floor before she fell, as she got up she noticed a “kind of waxy like substance...a type of crayon material.” Cordasco did not, however, know exactly what the substance was, where it came from, how it got on the floor, or whether Walgreens knew about the substance.
Walgreens moved for summary judgment, arguing that it did not breach a duty of care because it had neither actual nor constructive notice of the dangerous condition. In opposition, Cordasco argued that she was entitled to an inference of negligence due to the mode-of-operation rule. The lower court granted summary judgment in favor of Walgreens. This Court upheld.
In upholding the lower court’s decision, this Court articulated the duty of care that a business owner owes to an invitee. The Court noted that, generally, a plaintiff must prove actual or constructive notice. Notice is not required, however, where a dangerous condition is likely to result from the nature of a defendant’s business, the property’s condition, or a pattern of conduct or incidents. In such cases, the plaintiff is entitled to an inference of negligence based on the business’s mode of operation.
The Court then determined that the plaintiff had established neither notice nor a mode-of-operation inference. In reaching this conclusion, the Appellate Division distinguished this case from other NJ Superior Court cases (Nisivoccia v. Glass Gardens, Inc., Wollerman v. Grand Union Stores, Inc., Bozza v. Vornado, Inc.) involving self-service food items that could foreseeably fall on the floor from open bins and containers. In the present case, the Court noted that the self-service containers at Walgreens did not hold open bags and did not contain any “waxy-like” or “crayon-like” substances. A nexus between the self-service containers and the substance causing the fall was therefore not established. For that reason, the Court upheld the dismissal of Cordasco’s suit.
If you have any questions regarding a slip and fall accident, or any other personal injury matter, call Mark & Galusha, attorneys who specialize in personal injury law. Contact us at 908-626-1001 or visit our website at markgalushalaw.com.
Cordasco v. Walgreen Co., Walgreen Eastern, Docket No. A-1636-10T3, available at http://lawlibrary.rutgers.edu/courts/appellate/a1636-10.opn.html