Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Shutt v. Kaufman’s, Inc. case brief

Shutt v. Kaufman’s, Inc. case brief summary
438 P.2d 501 (1968)

Plaintiff visitor assigned error to an order of the District Court of El Paso County (Colorado), which entered judgment on the verdict in favor of defendant storekeeper in the visitor's personal injury action.

A visitor went to the storekeeper's shore store to try on shoes. When the visitor sat down, her chair bumped a display table with sufficient force to cause the shoe stand above her chair to topple off a shelf and strike her on the head. The visitor appealed the verdict in favor of the storekeeper in her personal injury action.

  • The court affirmed because the visitor failed to prevail even with the unfair advantage of an erroneously submitted instruction on res ipsa loquitur.
  • The court held that the visitor could have shown that the storekeeper was responsible for her injuries by demonstrating that the table or stand were so unstable that the storekeeper created a dangerous condition by placing the stand on the table's top shelf above customers' heads where it was likely to topple off. 
  • The court held that the storekeeper was not an insurer of the business visitor's safety and that the mere happening of the accident did not raise a presumption of negligence.
The court affirmed the storekeeper's judgment in the visitor's negligence action.

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