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Interesting lawsuit

breamfisherbreamfisher Senior MemberPosts: 5,740 Senior Member
Woman slips and falls on dog urine in a store.

The store? PetSmart. A dog-friendly pet store.

Notable exerpts from the article:

Marilee Cappello claims Petsmart was negligent by failing to clean up the urine on the floor. By allowing animals to walk through the store, employees had a duty to warn customers of potential dangers, according to Capello's lawsuit.

"The plaintiff's fall was the result of an open and obvious condition," an attorney wrote in a legal response to the lawsuit.

http://www.clickorlando.com/news/28766755/detail.html

I'm not one to defend a big corporate store, normally, but it seems to me that they have a point. When I go into a place that allows dogs, I tend to watch where I step. Also, who knows how fresh the urine was?

Replies

  • MikeAMikeA Senior Member Posts: 5,451 Senior Member
    If the store is going to allow animals in there then IMO they are responsible for marking and or cleaning up liquid/urine on the floors. If I were in charge of that chain or any chain that allows pets I would require non slip on my floors. Anything less is negligent and asking to be sued IMO.

    I've slipped on a wet spot on a slippery floor and it hurts like hell. It's like your suddenly on ice and there is nothing you can do to control the fall. I didn't sue anyone.
  • fishingcomicfishingcomic Senior Member Posts: 26,039 Senior Member
    MikeA wrote: »
    If the store is going to allow animals in there then IMO they are responsible for marking and or cleaning up liquid/urine on the floors. If I were in charge of that chain or any chain that allows pets I would require non slip on my floors. Anything less is negligent and asking to be sued IMO.

    I've slipped on a wet spot on a slippery floor and it hurts like hell. It's like your suddenly on ice and there is nothing you can do to control the fall. I didn't sue anyone.

    I think this would depend on how badly I was hurt. While I don't think you should sue over every little thing at the same time if I have a rack of doctor bills, I would expect the store to accept some responsibility for their part of the accident. But you also have to accept some blame for not looking where you were walking.
    'I've spoken of the Shining City all my political life. …In my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still.'" Ronald Reagan
  • fishingcomicfishingcomic Senior Member Posts: 26,039 Senior Member
    Also who lets their dog pee in a store and doesn't make sure it gets cleaned up? Eww.
    'I've spoken of the Shining City all my political life. …In my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still.'" Ronald Reagan
  • MikeAMikeA Senior Member Posts: 5,451 Senior Member
    Maybe I wasn't clear enough. I expect the store to accept 100% of the responsibility because it was their fault. It's no different then mopping a floor and not putting a wet floor sign up IMO.

    I didn't sue because 1.I wasn't seriously hurt. 2. It happened at work and I need my job.
  • FishTXFishTX Super Moderator Posts: 8,652 Senior Member
    Also who lets their dog pee in a store and doesn't make sure it gets cleaned up? Eww.
    For all we know, the owner may have been seeking help for clean up.
    "We have to find someone who can not only fly this plane, but who didn't have fish for dinner."

    Crooow:This music would work better with women in bikinis shaking all over the place. I guess that's true of any music really.
  • JulietJuliet Posts: 49,774 Senior Member
    The owner should have dropped trow and curled up a steamer , that you could see and smell.
  • JulietJuliet Posts: 49,774 Senior Member
    Its been a while since I had any exposure to civil law, but I seem to recall that there is a heightened duty of care for businesses open to the public.
  • JulietJuliet Posts: 49,774 Senior Member
    why is it a dog is allowed to pee on the floor at Petsmart but I can pee in the snack and cereal aisle at the Safeway?
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 5,740 Senior Member
    FishTX wrote: »
    For all we know, the owner may have been seeking help for clean up.
    That's why I asked my question about how fresh the urine was. Could be an employee was coming to get it taken care of.

    Or, you could have a slob pet owner who didn't notify store personnel, and the accident occurred in a less-traveled area.
  • Brian D.Brian D. Senior Member Posts: 4,011 Senior Member
    Here's how this will go down. Legally, sherb is correct - a business has a heightened duty of care to make sure their premises are safe for customers, because they have the ability to inspect the premises, clean it up, remove hazards, and make it safe, whereas the customer has a more limited ability to do the same.

    Likewise, the customer has a duty to watch where they walk and look out for their own safety.

    It'll be up to a jury to balance the business owner's fault against the customer's fault. Fault division is subjective as hell, and no two juries will do it exactly the same. I bet everyone on this forum would probably divide the fault a little differently.

    From the jury verdicts I've seen on slip and fall cases, I'd estimate on average the customer gets roughly somewhere around 15-20 percent fault in a case like this, maybe more if the urine pool was really obvious and visible, maybe a lot less if it was just a little bit that made the floor slick, or if there was some other reasonable explanation why the customer didn't see it.

    Meanwhile, the premises owner needs to use their brains about how hard they want to push this "open and obvious" defense. If the urine was so open, obvious, and easily spotted, then why in hell didn't their employees see it and put out a warning sign until they could clean it up? All these stores have safety policies mandating that their employees are supposed to be keeping a constant close watch on the floor for anything that could be hazardous to customers. I've **** some premises owner **** before when they've made too big a deal about the hazard being "open and obvious."

    Notice is a defense for the premises owner too. In fact, the number one premises defense is that the hazard had arisen so recently that the premises owner didn't have time to see it and correct it. This can be tough to overcome when the plaintiff has the burden of proof - how can the customer have any way of knowing how long the dog peepee had been on the floor?

    I see two likely ways around this:

    1. If the plaintiff can establish that dog pee gets left on the floor on a frequent and regular basis, then the premises owner can't get out of it by saying the dog pee was too recent. It'll be legally judged as an ongoing hazard that the business needs to find other ways to prevent. Mike's observation about non-skid tile floors is a good one. It doesn't cost much and it prevents a lot of injuries, and a business where the floor is getting wet frequently is stupid to the point of recklessness if they don't install nonskid tile. Forget about the danger of being sued - why should they put their customers at risk of injury needlessly???

    2. From the plaintiff's perspective, hopefully she will testify that when she fell, the urine felt like it was room temperature, or at least not warm. Circumstantially, if it had been there long enough that it was no longer warm, then it had been there long enough that the store should have found it and cleaned it up. That'll be enough to get the case to a jury.

    Finally, regarding the idea that "I don't think that people should sue for any little thing." I agree. Businesses fight the hell out of premises claims. The old days where they used to pay a little something to "make it go away" have been gone twenty years. Premises claims with soft-tissue injuries suck. A jury won't take them seriously, and the premises owner's attorney will eat your lunch. As a plaintiff's lawyer, I don't get paid unless I win. I don't want to spend 100 attorney hours and $5,000.00 going to a jury trial so I can get a jury to give my client $1,000.00 for her Emergency Room visit for a bruise on her butt, minus 20 percent for her fault in not seeing what she fell on. If there's a broken bone, a herniated disk with surgery, an ACL tear in a knee, or something like that, then I've got something. But for a plaintiff's attorney, taking cases where someone fell on a grape in a supermarket and got whiplash is a fast way to go broke.

    bd
  • JulietJuliet Posts: 49,774 Senior Member
    Maybe they should just have an isle called the "Dog **** Slip and Slide for Kids."
  • fishingcomicfishingcomic Senior Member Posts: 26,039 Senior Member
    MikeA wrote: »
    Maybe I wasn't clear enough. I expect the store to accept 100% of the responsibility because it was their fault. It's no different then mopping a floor and not putting a wet floor sign up IMO.

    I didn't sue because 1.I wasn't seriously hurt. 2. It happened at work and I need my job.

    1 is the point I was making.

    I think I disagree about 100% responsible. I mean we are told since the age of 3 to watch where we walk. So you have some responsibility. But not enough to lose your house on medical bills.

    I guess I should have read all of Brian's response before posting this. But I was impatient.
    'I've spoken of the Shining City all my political life. …In my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still.'" Ronald Reagan
  • fishingcomicfishingcomic Senior Member Posts: 26,039 Senior Member
    That's why I asked my question about how fresh the urine was.

    This would require more investigating than I would be willing to do. ;)
    'I've spoken of the Shining City all my political life. …In my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still.'" Ronald Reagan
  • The HingeThe Hinge Senior Member Posts: 162 Senior Member
    Maybe the lady was too fat to see where she was stepping
  • fishingcomicfishingcomic Senior Member Posts: 26,039 Senior Member
    Then she would have not hurt herself when she hit the floor.
    'I've spoken of the Shining City all my political life. …In my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still.'" Ronald Reagan
  • JulietJuliet Posts: 49,774 Senior Member
    1 is the point I was making.

    I think I disagree about 100% responsible. I mean we are told since the age of 3 to watch where we walk. So you have some responsibility. But not enough to lose your house on medical bills.

    I guess I should have read all of Brian's response before posting this. But I was impatient.

    I would agree with you if the stuff were laid out closer to the floor but in some of these stores you have to look up on the shelves while walking to find what you're looking for.
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 5,740 Senior Member
    Then she would have not hurt herself when she hit the floor.
    False presumption. With that much momentum, hitting a solid floor will hurt something. Inertia and all that.
  • FishTXFishTX Super Moderator Posts: 8,652 Senior Member
    greenman wrote: »
    I would agree with you if the stuff were laid out closer to the floor but in some of these stores you have to look up on the shelves while walking to find what you're looking for.
    Somebody is going to argue that you (1) look where you walking (2) come to stop (3) look up (4) repeat 1 through 3.
    "We have to find someone who can not only fly this plane, but who didn't have fish for dinner."

    Crooow:This music would work better with women in bikinis shaking all over the place. I guess that's true of any music really.
  • JulietJuliet Posts: 49,774 Senior Member
    False presumption. With that much momentum, hitting a solid floor will hurt something. Inertia and all that.



    Inertia? Ain't that her sister?
  • fishingcomicfishingcomic Senior Member Posts: 26,039 Senior Member
    False presumption. With that much momentum, hitting a solid floor will hurt something. Inertia and all that.

    It is like a vase wrapped in bubble wrap.
    'I've spoken of the Shining City all my political life. …In my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still.'" Ronald Reagan
  • JulietJuliet Posts: 49,774 Senior Member
    FishTX wrote: »
    Somebody is going to argue that you (1) look where you walking (2) come to stop (3) look up (4) repeat 1 through 3.

    Yea, have you ever watched people at a state fair. I rest my case.
  • fishingcomicfishingcomic Senior Member Posts: 26,039 Senior Member
    greenman wrote: »
    I would agree with you if the stuff were laid out closer to the floor but in some of these stores you have to look up on the shelves while walking to find what you're looking for.

    It's dog food. Gravy Train, aisle six.
    'I've spoken of the Shining City all my political life. …In my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still.'" Ronald Reagan
  • JulietJuliet Posts: 49,774 Senior Member
    Gravy Train sounds like a porno Brian would watch. Woof , Woof.
  • fishingcomicfishingcomic Senior Member Posts: 26,039 Senior Member
    Funny that is the reason why I didn't say Kibbles & Bits.
    'I've spoken of the Shining City all my political life. …In my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still.'" Ronald Reagan
  • JulietJuliet Posts: 49,774 Senior Member
    LOL!!!

    How bout Tender Vittles?
  • creekguycreekguy Senior Member Posts: 4,205 Senior Member
    I want to see the ladies medical records. Bet the injuries were related to a preexisting condition.

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