F: TC ruled in favor of P, and AC affirmed.
While P was shopping at D store, P slipped and fell near two grape displays. The floor where the customer sampling bowl of grape was located was a non skid surface and floor mats were in place around the display tables, and there were also warning cones near the grape displays.
I: Can mere display of produce for customer sampling constitute an unreasonable risk of harm to customers so as to make the store be liable for negligence
R: Mere fact that a store has a customer sampling display cannot be evidence of a condition on the premises that poses an unreasonable risk of harm unless customer proves i) the store had actual or constructive knowledge of a condition on the premises, ii) the condition posed an unreasonable risk of harm, iii) store did not exercise reasonable care to reduce or to eliminate the risk, and iv) store’s failure to use such care proximately caused her injuries
A: There is no evidence that the manner of display created an unreasonable risk
(2) Res Ispa Loquitur
Generally: doctrine of res ipsa loquitur allows P to get into court with little evidence.
[Byrne v. Boadle – barrel of flour falls on P’s head as he walks down street. P has no other evidence except that
barrels do not fall out of windows w/o negligence. Under res ipsa loquitur, P has enough evidence.]
[McDougald v. Perry - P sued D for injuries sustained when D’s tractor-trailer’s spare tire came out of its cradle and
bounced into P’s windshield. Res ipsa loquitur applied. Verdict for P.]
- [Byrne v. Boadle – barrel of flour falls on P’s head as he walks down street. P has no other evidence except that barrels do not fall out of windows w/o negligence. Under res ipsa loquitur, P has enough evidence.]
Requirements for: courts generally impose four requirements for the res ipsa doctrine
a. Exclusive control of D: P must demonstrate that the instrument causing the harm was at all times in the exclusive
control of D.
[Larson v. St. Francis Hotel – P, while walking on sidewalk next to D hotel, was hit by a falling armchair. Without
more proof, P had not satisfied “exclusive control” requirement of res ipsab/c a guest may have had the control]
Multiple Defendants: If there are two or more Ds, P can show that at least one of the Ds was in control, some
cases allow P to recover. This is particularly likely where Ds participate together in an integrated relationship.
- [Larson v. St. Francis Hotel – P, while walking on sidewalk next to D hotel, was hit by a falling armchair. Without
to each person to prove they were NOT negligent.]
b. Doesn’t ordinarily occur without negligence: P must show that the harm does not normally occur except through
P only has to prove that most of the time, negligence is the cause of such occurrences.
C. Burden of Proof: the burden of proof is still on P to show D was negligent. Res ipsa just gets you into court. [Sullivan v. Crabtree - Son was riding in D’s truck. Truck swerved off a highway. P's son died. Court said "in the ordinary case...res ipsa loquitur merely makes a case for the jury]
a. Exception: Unconscious Medical Treatment: burden of proof shifts to D’s when P is unconscious undergoing medical treatment... [Ybarra v. Spangard – P had appendicitis and woke up unable to move his arm. P got res ipsa and it was up to each person to prove they were NOT negligent.]