Recently, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a Texas slip-and-fall case that arose after the plaintiff slipped and fell in a Wal-Mart store. The case required the court to determine if the trial court was proper in dismissing the plaintiff’s lawsuit after granting Wal-Mart’s motions for summary judgment. Ultimately, the court concluded that summary judgment was not appropriate for Wal-Mart because the plaintiff’s proposed theory of how the accident occurred was the most plausible among those suggested by the parties.The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was shopping at Wal-Mart when he slipped and fell in a puddle of clear liquid that was left in an aisle. The puddle was at a low-lying area of the floor, where brown tile met white vinyl.
The incident was captured on low-resolution video that showed an auto-scrubber floor-cleaning machine pass over the area where the tile met the vinyl. The machine – which dispenses a soapy liquid, scrubs the floor, and then sucks up any remaining liquid – paused over the area where the plaintiff fell. The video was too poor in quality to determine with any certainty that liquid was left behind.