Kentucky Court sends gas station fall case back to lower courts
by Mandy Hicks
Places of business owe certain duties to visitors. One of those duties is safe and secure surfaces for walking. Spills can cause hazardous conditions, and businesses owe it to their visitors to clean up spills and similar hazardous conditions as soon as possible.
When a business or property owner breaches the duty of care that it owes to a visitor, the visitor has a right to seek monetary compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by the accident. This gas station fall case went to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, which sided with the injured person in the lawsuit.
Facts of the Case
In the recent (unpublished) decision of Addison v. Traxx Management Company, the plaintiff slipped and fell on a wet floor inside a gas station. Although he worked at the gas station, he was off duty at the time of the fall. As a result of the accident, the plaintiff broke his leg.
He filed suit against several defendants who had an ownership or managerial relationship with the gas station, asserting a cause of action for negligence. He later amended his complaint to include a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress after he learned that a video of his fall had been shown to some of his fellow employees.
After various procedural maneuvers, the trial court ultimately granted summary judgment to the defendants. The plaintiff appealed.
Decision of the Kentucky Court of Appeals
The appellate court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded the case to the lower court for additional proceedings. In his appeal, the plaintiff argued that the trial court had erroneously determined that one defendant owed no duty of care by making a factual determination as to the location of the hazard and the adequacy of a certain warning, that the placement of a warning did not always satisfy a proprietor’s duty of care as a matter of law, and that it was an error for the trial court to reject his claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The court agreed with the plaintiff that the location of the hazard was in dispute due to conflicting photographs, witness credibility, and the camera angles of video footage and photographs. Since there was a “classic factual dispute” for the jury, the court remanded this issue for further consideration by the court below.
With respect to the plaintiff’s intentional infliction of emotional distress claim, the court agreed that the defendants’ conduct may have been insensitive and perhaps even inhumane, but it went on to rule that the plaintiff had failed to meet the high threshold required for such a claim. Thus, the court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s intentional infliction of emotional distress claim.
Talk to an Experienced Kentucky Negligence Lawyer
If you have been hurt because of someone else’s negligence, carelessness, or recklessness, you have a right to seek compensation for what you have been through. To schedule a free, confidential case evaluation with a results-oriented Kentucky personal injury attorney, call English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley at (270) 781-6500. Our offices are located in Bowling Green, and we handle cases throughout south central Kentucky, middle Tennessee, and the surrounding areas.
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