Court Says Florida Store May be Liable for Slip and Fall in Aisle – Randall v. Target

A Florida man who was injured when he slipped and fell in a wine-drenched aisle of a local Target can proceed with a negligence claim against the retailer, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida recently ruled in Randall v. Target.

Mr. Randall was allegedly injured in an accident when he slipped and fell at a Target store in Florida. Another customer had dropped a bottle of white wine, which broke and spilled on an aisle floor. Although a Target employee placed a safety cone near the spill, Randall didn’t see it as he pushed his cart down the aisle, where he ultimately slipped and fell. According to the Court, the employee who placed the cone near the spill had determined that it was too large for him to clean up alone and was returning with another worker to address the spill when the accident happened. The employee said he tried to yell a warning to Randall as he approached the spill, but it was too late. Time-stamped images of the spill and accident showed that Randall slipped and fell no more than a minute and 12 seconds after the wine was spilled.

Randall sued Target for negligence, alleging that the store failed to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition and to adequately warn him of the hazard created by the spilled wine.

Denying Target’s motion for summary judgment on the claim, the District Court said it was for a jury to decide whether the store breached the duty of care that it owed to Randall as a visitor to the premises. “Within the context of a suit against a business owner for the on-premises injuries of a customer, the business owner owes the duties: (1) to take ordinary and reasonable care to keep its premises reasonably safe for the customer and (2) to warn of perils that were known or should have been known to the owner and of which the customer could not discover through the exercise of due care,” the Court explained, citing in the Florida Third District Court of Appeals’ decision 2011 in Delgado v. Laundromax.

In this case, the Court said it remained unclear whether Target acted reasonably in response to the spill. Specifically, Randall argued that the store employee who noticed the spill and set up the cone was negligent in leaving the scene unattended in order to get help and cleaning supplies. He also claimed that the one single cone wasn’t sufficient to alert customers that the spill had spread across the entire aisle.

“The reasonableness of actions Defendant’s employees took with an aim to cleaning up the spill–such as leaving the spill unattended to obtain cleaning supplies–and the adequacy of the warnings to Plaintiff are fact-intensive inquiries inappropriate for resolution at the summary judgment stage,” the Court concluded.

If you were recently injured in an accident and are interested in pursuing a claim against the property owner of the premises where you were injured, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney. Call the South Florida personal injury attorneys at Anidjar & Levine today. We represent clients throughout the region, including in Hialeah, Coral Springs and Pompano Beach.

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