The state supreme court in Idaho reversed a summary judgment granted in favor of a large retailer stemming from a slip-and-fall injury allegedly caused by a spill near a self-service carpet-cleaning machine rental station in the store. Justices ruled the trial court’s finding that the vendor might be liable for negligence – but not the retailer/ property owner – was improper, and that the injury lawsuit should be allowed to proceed to trial
The store had a vendor agreement with the company that owned the carpet cleaning machines for two years by the time of the fall. The vendor had similar agreements with several other companies, but this was the only one wherein these kiosks were completely self-serving (as opposed to having a store employee check customers out). The vendor did not train employees of this store in proper storage and maintenance, as it did at every other location. The machines instead were serviced by the vendor twice a month.
The store had a general slip-and-fall policy that was in place at the time plaintiff fell. The policy mandates employees keep an eye out for safety issues in the spaces where they work. Store workers were specifically told to conduct “safety sweeps” of areas that got a lot of foot traffic, to specifically watch for spills and to clean them up promptly whenever they were discovered. Continue reading →