Torts I, Pages 248–249

H.E. Butt Grog. Co. v. Resendez

Supreme Court of Texas, 1999

Facts:

Plaintiff slipped by a grape display at defendant's store. She then sued, alleging that the customer sampling display posed an unreasonable risk of harm that caused her injuries. The display was one of two such displays. One had grapes bagged in cellophane and sitting in boxes. The other had a bowl of loose grapes in a level bowl in a recess on a table with a three-inch railing. THe entire produce section had a non-skid floor, and floor mats were in place around the display tables. There were also warning cones near the displays.

Procedural History:

The trial jury found for the plaintiff, and the court of appeals affirmed.

Issue:

Can mere display of produce for customer sampling constitute an unreasonable risk of harm to customers?

Rule:

To prove negligence of someone's mode of operation, one must prove:

  1. The business had actual or constructive knowledge of a condition on the premises
  2. The condition posed an unreasonable risk of harm
  3. The business did not exercise reasonable care to reduce or to eliminate the risk
  4. The business's failure to use such care proximately caused the plaintiff's injuries

Reasoning:

Unlike similar cases, no evidence has been presented that the grapes were displayed in a manner that created an unreasonable risk of harm.

Holding:

No, they must also be displayed in a way that creates an unreasonable risk. Reversed. Plaintiff takes nothing.

Like my site?
Slightly less broke than the average law student?
Want to give me money for some reason?

I accept donations!

(Don't feel bad if you don't) (Not tax-deductible)