Notice Requirement in Slip and Fall Cases

In slip and fall cases in Tennessee, one must either prove that the defendant created the condition or knew or should have known about the condition.  The latter may be proved by showing a pattern of conduct,  a re-occurring incident, or a general or continuing condition indicating the dangerous condition’s existence.   Blair v. West Town Mall,  130 S.W.3d 761 (Tenn. 2004)

But Alaska has a much more pro-plaintiff rule in grocery (and presumably all retail) store cases. Its Supreme Court  recently  ruled that "actual or constructive notice of a hazardous condition is not an element of a prima facie case in an action against a grocery store owner in a slip-and-fall case."

Here is a brief summary of the Court’s ruling and rationale:

"We hold that while actual or constructive notice of a hazardous condition is one factor that a factfinder may consider in determining reasonableness, it is not an element of a prima facie case in a slip-and-fall action against a grocery store in Alaska. Rather than enter into a maze of legal rules and exceptions about what may constitute actual or constructive notice for the disposition of cases on summary judgment, we continue to trust that factfinders can best ascertain whether the proprietor of a grocery store acted reasonably in maintaining the store’s premises considering all of the circumstances. We see no reason to tilt the contest between plaintiffs and defendants at the outset of a case."

Trust a jury?  What could they possibly be thinking? 

The case is Edenway v. Safeway, Inc., Supreme Court No. S-12583 (July 3, 2008).  Read it here.

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