Slip and Fall Lawsuit Dismissed Due to No Evidence of Moisture

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Kelowna Registry, dismissing a slip and fall lawsuit after a plaintiff failed to prove the existence of any hazard.
In today’s case (Hanes v. Loblaws, Inc) the Plaintiff fell and injured her knee and back while shopping at the Defendant’s store in 2010.  She sued for damages alleging the fall was caused by moisture on the floor.  The Plaintiff ” did not see water on the floor” before or after the fall but assumed the floor was wet because “when she took off her jacket, the back of it was wet“.  The Court dismissed the claim finding this was insufficient to find liability.  In doing so Madam Justice Russell provided the following reasons:

[139]     There is simply no evidence that Ms. Hanes’ fall was caused by moisture on the floor, whether that was a pool of water, or just general moisture causing the surface to become unreasonably slippery.

[140]     The only indication of the presence of moisture at all comes from an assumption on Ms. Hanes’ part that the moisture she says she felt on the back of her jacket, a jacket that did not cover her buttocks, following her fall was caused by water on the floor.

[141]     This evidence is completely uncorroborated. The video disk shows many customers, employees, and managers walking back and forth across the area where she fell before and after the incident. None of them seems to have noticed anything wrong with the surface, and none appears to have lost traction as they traversed the area around the customer service desk.

[142]     Numerous employees inspected the floor and found neither pools of water nor a moist surface.

[143]     It is my view that Ms. Hanes’ shoes were already wet when she entered the store due both to her crossing the snowy church parking lot, and residual moisture on the concrete outside the store.

[144]     With the wet leather soles and high heels she was wearing, it would have been very easy for her to skid a little on her right high heel and to turn her ankle, causing her to fall. However, assigning any cause to her fall is itself speculative.

[145]     In my view, her fall was truly an accident and liability cannot be found against Superstore.

[146]     I also cannot find fault with the quality of the surface of the floor in the Superstore, and I find that the program in place to keep the floor as clean and dry as possible in the circumstances met a reasonable standard of safety.

[147]     It is clear from the witnesses’ evidence and from the video disks that the cleaning program was underway the morning of the fall right up to the time Ms. Hanes fell.

[148]     Ms. Hanes has not established that Loblaws is liable for her fall and injuries. Therefore, it is unnecessary for me to address the damages she alleges she has suffered.

[149]     The plaintiff’s action is dismissed with costs to the defendant.

bc injury law, Hanes v. Loblaws Inc., Madam Justice Russell

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ERIK
MAGRAKEN

Personal Injury Lawyer

When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

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