Boston Partner Doug Price and Associate Alexandra Gordon, with the assistance of Associate Matt O’Connor, recently prevailed on a Motion for Summary Judgment and a Motion to Dismiss in Providence Superior Court after three separate hearings. The plaintiff brought suit for injuries sustained in a grocery store when she slipped and fell on drops of juice that had leaked from a bottle placed in her own shopping cart. This was captured in motion-activated surveillance footage. The plaintiff alleged negligence, breach of contract, failure to warn, breach of implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, and mode of operation.
As to the negligence count, the judge accepted the argument that there was no evidence that the defendant knew or should have known of the spill prior to the plaintiff’s fall and entered summary judgment for the defendant. The judge then dismissed the remaining counts, accepting the arguments that (1) entry into a grocery store and placement of a good in a shopping cart did not create a contract; (2) a leaky bottle is not a “dangerous propensity” that would give rise to a duty to warn; (3) the fact that the good was never sold eliminates any potential claim under the implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose; and (4) mode of operation is neither a separate cause of action nor accepted law in the jurisdiction.