Firm persuades judge to grant rare summary judgment win in slip-and-fall case

BOSTON (June 21, 2012) – The firm recently persuaded a Massachusetts trial court judge to grant summary judgment dismissing a personal injury lawsuit against their client involving a fall at a Massachusetts department store.

Slip-and-fall personal injury claims are rarely dismissed pre-trial because judges usually determine that issues of material fact are present for juries to resolve.

However, Jennifer Rousseau successfully argued that the plaintiff had failed to adduce sufficient facts to potentially establish negligence by their client, a contractor hired to do cleaning services at Macy’s department store, a co-defendant in the case.

The plaintiff testified that on a rainy day in September 2006 she slipped and fell at a Macy’s in Saugus, Mass., although she did not recall whether water had accumulated where the fall occurred. According to her testimony, the plaintiff saw spots of water in the aisle as she left the store, and that she assumed her fall was caused by water on the floor. The plaintiff did not allege that the firm’s client knew the floor was wet or had caused it to be wet.

In granting summary judgment to the firm’s client, the Suffolk Superior Court judge wrote that the plaintiff had not “presented evidence from which a trier of fact could infer that the water in the main aisle of the store was more than what normally results from the tramping of many feet on a wet rainy day.”

Rousseau noted, “The law is clear that normal wetness resulting from rainy conditions alone is not enough to impose liability on our client. The judge correctly found that the plaintiff failed to allege with any specificity that our client did anything or failed to do anything that was the cause of her slipping.”

About Barton Gilman

Barton Gilman is one of New England’s leading civil litigation law firms with offices in Boston and Providence, including its active premises liability practice. Its experienced trial attorneys appear regularly in the federal and state courts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The Providence Business News has named the firm five consecutive years as one of Rhode Island’s Best Places to Work (2008–2012).