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New York Appellate Court Denies Summary Judgment for Slip and Fall in Grocery Store


The plaintiff of the case is Scheila Germain. The defendants in the case is Rite Aid of New York, Incorporated. The case is being heard in the Supreme Court of New York located in Kings County. Judge Herbert Kramer is residing over the case.

This is a personal injury action and the defendants have moved for an order of summary judgment in the case. The defendant’s request that the complaints made against them by the defendants be dismissed. Alternatively, the defendants seek a partial summary judgment for the fact that the fall by the plaintiff caused her miscarriage.

Case Background

This slip and fall action comes from an accident that occurred on the 20th of January, 2006. The plaintiff was inside the store of the defendant when she slipped and fell. The plaintiff states that she went into the store at around 8 in the evening to purchase household items.

The plaintiff was shopping in the store. She states that she went to aisle 14 of the store and picked up some air freshener. She says as she was walking back down the aisle she slipped and fell to the floor. She says that after she fell she noticed a blue liquid on the floor that had leaked from a bottle of laundry detergent. She states that she did not notice the liquid before she fell.

After the accident the manager of the store Christine Bartley went to aisle 14 after another customer reported that someone had fallen. When Ms. Bartley got to the aisle she saw the plaintiff lying on the floor and notices a small puddle of laundry detergent on the floor.

After the accident the plaintiff was taken to the Kings County Hospital Center by an ambulance. She complained of neck pain, back pain, and abdominal pain. The plaintiff was thirteen weeks pregnant at the time of the fall. She states that she had vaginal bleeding immediately after the fall. However, a pelvic examination that was done at the hospital showed a cervix that was closed and no vaginal bleeding. The ultrasound showed a uterus that was 10 weeks in size. The plaintiff was dismissed from the hospital.

Two weeks after the accident the plaintiff was taken back to the hospital with heavy vaginal bleeding. Upon examination it was determined that the plaintiff had a miscarriage.

The plaintiff began this action on the 9th of May, 2007. The complaint alleges that the defendant was negligent in creating or failing to fix a potentially hazardous situation in their store.

Case Discussion and Decision

To support the motion for summary judgment the defendant states that they did not cause the spill in the store that caused the plaintiff to fall. More specifically, the store manager stated that she was unaware of the spill as it had not been reported by any customer.

However, the defendant has not issued any evidence to show when the aisle in question had last been checked or cleaned.

A summary judgment can only be granted in cases where there is no triable evidence in place. This has not been established in regard to this particular case and for this reason the motion for summary judgment is denied.

In regard to the miscarriage, the plaintiff has the burden to prove that the fall is what caused the miscarriage. The case shall continue in court.

If you have fallen and sustained an injury you may have the right to compensation. Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates to set up a free consultation to discuss your case. Our offices are located conveniently throughout New York City.

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