Unsafe places: Customer’s knowledge of “open and obvious” condition spells victory for store in court

      A Winn-Dixie customer who tripped and fell over a pallet placed in a hazardous location lost his case when the supermarket won a summary judgment because the injured man had seen the pallet before and had even walked around it.
      The court ruled that the condition was open and obvious, and that because the plaintiff had previously noticed it, there was no duty on the part of the supermarket to warn of a condition when the supermarket’s knowledge of the condition was not superior to the plaintiff’s.  For these reasons, the supermarket could reasonably expect the customer to protect himself from the purported danger.
     This case is emblematic of an increasing trend in Florida courts to strictly enforce the requirements for proving negligence in slip-and-fall cases.  Undoubtedly the second most common type of injury case, slip-and-falls in retail settings can sometimes be very difficult to prove legally, and each requires careful investigation and analysis from the beginning.

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