While shopping at a supermarket, Veronica Feldmus tripped over "a big loaf of bread in a plastic bag," which had allegedly been left on the floor by a store employee or vendor that had been restocking the shelves.
Although her case eventually got tossed by the Queens County Supreme Court, the Appellate Division, Second Department, opted to throw the lady a few crumbs and reversed.
Citing to an affidavit submitted by the store's manager, the appellate court expressed displeasure with the lackadaisical approach the store had taken with the coordination of deliveries. Apparently, vendors were permitted to "'come in, pack out and go' without any checking by store employees." In the A.D.'s view, that lack of supervision didn't absolve the store "of all responsibility for maintaining a safe premises."
In a lone dissent, Justice Fred T. Santucci disagreed with his colleagues and reiterated what we also believed was the governing law in "slip and fall" cases -- that a defendant must show it "'neither created the hazardous condition, nor had actual or constructive of the condition.'" Since the court was presented with "speculation" as to the accident's cause, and there was "no proof" that the supermarket had notice of the condition "for a sufficient length of time to remedy it," the dissenter thought that dismissal was appropriate; a conclusion with which we wholeheartedly agree.
If it gets ever gets appealed to Court of Appeals, Ms. Feldmus's case is toast.
For a copy of the Appellate Division's decision in Feldmus v. Ryan Food Corp, please click on the following link: