NEWS: Florida Federal Court Reverses Summary Judgment for Walmart Slip and Fall, Remands Case to Lower Court

NEWS: Florida Federal Court Reverses Summary Judgment for Walmart Slip and Fall, Remands Case to Lower CourtRecently, the Florida Federal Court reversed and remanded a summary judgment in a case involving a slip and fall in Walmart. The lower court issued a summary judgment in Walmart’s favor, but James Deakins – the injured party – appealed that decision. The Federal Court agreed with Deakins. The case will now go to trial in the lower court.

According to Law 360, in March 2019, James Deakins went to Walmart and bought a few different products from the store. He took his purchased products to his vehicle, placed them inside the vehicle, and made his way back to the store to go to the restroom. However, when he went into the store the second time, he slipped. He did not fully fall to the floor as he was able to recover his balance, but he stated that he suffered back, hip, and knee injuries due to slipping.

Deakins gave a testimony explaining that when he exited the store after making his purchases that he did not see any water or liquid on the floor. He also stated that he did not see any water when he went back into the store to go to the restroom. It was not until he actually slipped that he saw water “about three feet in diameter.” It was mentioned that it had rained some that day, but it is unknown whether it was raining during the time that Deakins was inside, exiting, or re-entering the store.

Walmart had surveillance footage that recorded Deakins’ slip. It shows that he first made his way inside the store at about 1:35 p.m. The footage shows no customers walking into the store wearing or using anything that could indicate that it was raining outside, such as a rain jacket or even an umbrella. However, you can see “wet spots” on the floor close to where customers and Deakins walked into the store.

The surveillance footage shows Deakins exiting Walmart with his purchased products at 1:53 p.m. It is less than three minutes later that he returns to the entrance where he walks back inside and slips. Unfortunately, the spot that Deakins describes as being wet cannot be seen on the video footage prior to the slip. However, the water can be seen right after his slip. There are questions of whether Deakins brought the water in on his shoes from the wet grounds outside, but there is not an answer available yet.

The vestibule area in which Deakins slip occurred showed that there was no mat in front of the door that he used to walk into the store. This goes against Walmart’s policy for rainy weather that requires workers to “place carpeted mats at each entrance when wet weather is expected, which several workers for Walmart verified to be true.

The lower court gave Walmart a summary judgment because Deakins was unable to provide proof that Walmart had both actual and constructive knowledge of the hazardous situation that occurred. However, he appealed against this summary judgment decision, arguing that he has the evidence to show that the Walmart store did have actual and constructive knowledge that the floor of the area where he slipped was wet.

As a result, the Florida Federal Court reversed the summary judgment for Walmart.

Learn more: Slip and Fall In Walmart; Evidence of Length of Time A Grape Was On The Floor

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