PA Slip & Fall Case To Go To Trial

Posted on: July 10th, 2012       Attorney Thomas Newell

A November 2009 Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas Decision permitted a Pennsylvania slip and fall claim to proceed to trial.  A woman prepared and served food at the Defendant social club.  She and a friend arrived one evening to clean the deep fryers in preparation for a social the next day.  The Plaintiff slid on the tile floor as she was carrying a tray of boiling grease and water from the fryer.  The grease and water spilled on the woman and she suffered burns and scarring to her arms, legs and buttocks.

Her Pennsylvania slip & fall attorney filed a lawsuit versus the social club alleging negligence.  The Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment alleging that its floor was not in an unreasonably dangerous condition, it did not have actual or constructive notice of the alleged dangerous condition and, the condition of the floor was open and obvious to the slip and fall victim.

The parties agreed that the injured woman was a business invitee under PA law.  Pennsylvania law requires that when a property owner has previous knowledge that a slippery substance accumulates on the floor, the owner must take steps to warn all of the problem and mop the floor regularly or place a rug in the area to help avoid a fall.  Here the slip & fall victim presented evidence that the tile floor beneath the fryer was dangerous because oil frequently spilled from the fryer onto the tile floor which did not have any mats on it that day.

Testimony that mats were previously used in that area but were stored outside that day due to the previous caterers’ failure to remove them while cleaning the tile floor.  The President of the property owner agreed that mats should always be used when the fryers were being operated in order to reduce the possibility of a slip & fall accident.  Judge Cox denied Summary Judgment.  Blakely v. St. Marguerite’s Mutual Beneficial Society, Court of Common Pleas Lawrence County PA No. 11079-2008 (Nov. 10, 2009 J. Cox)