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Unformatted text preview: efore SCHWARTZ, C.J., and NESBITT and GERSTEN, JJ.
Appellant Elizabeth Perl claims several errors made by the trial court in her slip-and-fall
action against K-Mart Stores necessitate reversal. We address only that argument we find
meritorious wherein Perl claims error in the court's denial of her motion for a directed
verdict on the issue of negligence. We agree and reverse and remand on that basis.
 Perl was following a K-Mart employee to a section of the store in response to Perl's
request for information on the price of an item. According to Perl, she was pushing a
shopping cart several feet behind the clerk when she slipped on a hanger, fell, and
sustained various injuries. 248 At trial, the manager of K-Mart, several other longtime store employees, several
professional engineers, and a safety consultant all testified that K-Mart's white hangers on
the store's white tile floor represented a known hazardous condition. Each employee
testifying conceded that it was his obligation to discover and pick up these hangers to
prevent injury. A K-Mart personnel safety handbook also advised employees that they
were obligated to pick up debris in store aisles. Notwithstanding this acknowledged
obligation, the uncontradicted evidence was that the employee had walked directly over
While K-Mart argued it was for the jury to determine how the accident had occurred, the
court itself commented that based upon the evidence, if a jury concluded that Perl had not
fallen over a hanger, such a conclusion would be purely "speculative." Notwithstanding
this observation, the trial court sent the issue of K-Mart's negligence to the jury. This was
All evidence confirmed that the employee traversed the floor directly in front of Perl, the
clerk's path providing this employee with notice of the dangerous condition. It is
undisputed that K-Mart is responsible for the negligent behavior of its employees. Jacobi
v. Claude Nolan, Inc., 122 So.2d 783 (Fla. 1st DCA 1960); see also United States v.
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This note was uploaded on 09/30/2012 for the course ENC 102 taught by Professor Deria during the Spring '08 term at FIU.
- Spring '08