Pennsylvania Record

Monday, October 14, 2019

Woman loses slip-and-fall case against Boston Market; Judge finds lack of evidence


By Marian Johns | Apr 2, 2019

PHILADELPHIA — A federal court has granted Boston Market Corp.'s motion for summary judgment in a case involving a customer's allegations that her slip and fall was caused by the restaurant's negligence. 

According to the March 22 U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania memorandum, plaintiff Annmarie Watson alleged she slipped on water on the floor of a restroom at the defendant's restaurant in July 2017. 

Watson claims after she fell flat on her back, she looked up and saw water dripping onto the floor coming from a light in the ceiling and also noticed stains on the ceiling next to the light. The plaintiff states the fall was caused by the restaurant's negligence and that it resulted in "serious and permanent injuries to her lumbar spine."

Boston Market's manager at the restaurant where Watson's fall took place claimed the restrooms are checked on an hourly basis, that she inspected the restroom within 40 minutes prior to Watson's fall and that she did not find any liquid on the floor or dripping from the ceiling. 

Two months later, Watson filed a complaint in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas that was removed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and arbitrated in favor of Boston Market. Watson then demanded a new trial, with Boston Market responding by filing a motion for summary judgment.

Boston Market argued that Watson did not produced any evidence to prove her fall was caused by the harmful condition of the water on the restroom floor. The defendant also argues the fall could have occurred from water dripping on the floor after someone washing their hands "merely" shook the excess water off of them. 

Judge Jan DuBois stated that the plaintiff did not show Boston Market had a "hand in creating the harmful conditions" and concluded "because plaintiff has failed to present evidence showing that the defendant created the harmful condition or had actual constructive notice of the condition, the court grants defendant's motion for summary judgment."

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Boston Market Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas

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