United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgement (Doc. 16) filed
by American Multi-Cinema, Inc. ("AMC"). Plaintiff
Aaron Ward filed an opposition (Doc. 21), and Defendant filed
a reply. (Doc. 26). For the following reasons, the Motion for
Summary Judgement (Doc. 16) is GRANTED.
a slip-and-fall case. The facts taken in the light most
favorable to Plaintiff are as follows. Plaintiff and his
fiancee walked into an AMC movie theatre in Baton Rouge,
Louisiana on the evening of Saturday, April 23, 2016. (Doc.
16-5 at 36:19-37:12). After buying a ticket, Plaintiff and
his fiancee walked toward one of the movie theatres, and
Plaintiff saw a female AMC employee mopping. Id. at
40:22-42:11 and Video at 6:42-6:55. The employee was mopping up
a soda with ice that had spilled on the floor. (Doc. 16-9 at
45:5-46:21). As Plaintiff walked toward the employee, he saw
three cone-shaped yellow wet floor signs in a triangle
formation surrounding the area being mopped. (Doc. 16-5 at
walked "a little bit" to the left of the wet floor
signs to avoid them. (Doc. 16-5 at 42:11-20). As he walked
past the signs and the employee mopping, Plaintiff fell.
Id. at 42:11-43:5. Plaintiff did not see any water
on the floor before he fell because he was focused on finding
the correct theatre. Id. at 58:14-18. After he fell,
however, Plaintiff saw "a little standing water"
where he fell. Id. at 54:23-56:1. Plaintiff
remembered falling about a foot away from the wet floor
signs. Id. at 57:12-16). His fiancee testified that
he fell "maybe a foot or two" from the nearest wet
floor sign. (Doc. 16-7 at 17:11-15). She also said that the
AMC employee was mopping "sloppily" and "she
was sloshing water everywhere." Id. at
13:16-19. Plaintiff later learned that he tore his meniscus,
and he had surgery to repair it. (Doc. 16-5 at 67:6-8).
then sued Defendant in the 19th Judicial District Court,
Parish of East Baton Rouge, Louisiana on April 24, 2017.
(Doc. 1-3 at p. 3-8). Defendant removed the action to this
Court, invoking the Court's diversity jurisdiction. (Doc.
1 at ¶ 4). Plaintiff claims that the Defendant is liable
for damages because Defendant "failed to provide proper
notice of the hazardous area" because the warning signs
were placed three to four feet away from the spill. (Doc. 1-3
at p. 5-6). Defendant also claims that Defendant,
"created a hazardous condition, that resulted in an
unreasonable risk of harm" by having their employee
mopping in a manner that allowed for water to accumulate
outside of the coned area. Id. Lastly, Plaintiff
asserts that Defendant failed to use "reasonable
care" and to warn patrons of the new spill that was
caused by their employees mopping. Id.,
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, "[t]he court shall
grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a). In determining whether the movant is entitled to
summary judgment, the court views the facts in the light most
favorable to the non-movant and draws all reasonable
inferences in the non-movant's favor. Coleman v.
Hous. Indep, Sch. Dist., 113 F.3d 528, 533 (5th Cir.
1997). At this stage, the Court does not evaluate the
credibility of witnesses, weigh the evidence, or resolve
factual disputes. Int'l Shortstop, Inc. v.
Rally's, Inc., 939 F.2d 1257, 1263 (5th Cir. 1991).
Louisiana Law, a plaintiff seeking damages against a merchant
because of a fall on their premises has the burden of proving
that a condition on the premises presented: (1) an
unreasonable risk of harm; (2) that this harm was reasonably
foreseeable; (3) that the merchant either created or had
actual or constructive notice of the condition and; (4) that
the merchant failed to exercise reasonable care. La. R.S.
9:2800.6(B). A plaintiff must establish all of the elements
in order to succeed on this claim. See White v. Walmart
Stores, Inc., 669 So.2d 1081, 1086 (La. 1997).
that the wet floor created an unreasonable risk of harm that
was reasonably foreseeable and that AMC had actual or
constructive notice of the water, the Court concludes that
AMC nonetheless exercised reasonable care. A merchant does
not create an unreasonable risk of harm when it uses signs to
warn patrons that a floor is wet. See Melancon v.
Popeye's Famous Fried Chicken, 59 So.3d 513, 516
(La. Ct. App 2007); Lee v. Ryan's Family Steak
Houses, Inc., 960 So.2d 1042, 1047 (La. Ct. App. 2007).
For instance, in Melancon, the court held that
"Popeye's exercised reasonable care by placing two
different 'wet floor' signs to alert customers that
the floor had been mopped." 59 So.3d at 516.
even the facts in the light most favorable to Plaintiff show
that AMC exercised reasonable care by placing three yellow
wet floor signs on the floor to alert customers that the
floor was wet. (Doc. 21). Plaintiff contends that because he
fell on standing water that extended three to four feet away
from the wet floor signs, that AMC's signage was
insufficient. (Doc. 21 at p. 3). It is unclear, however, why
Plaintiff contends that he fell three to four feet from the
wet floors signs. In his own deposition, Plaintiff testified
that water extended only about one foot from one of the
warning cones, (Doc. 16-5 at 57:12-16), and his fiancee
testified that Plaintiff fell "maybe a foot or two"
from the nearest wet floor sign. (Doc. 16-7 at 17:15).
Because Plaintiff fell only about a foot or two from a yellow
wet floor sign, the Court concludes that AMC exercised
reasonable care to alert customers of a potentially wet
floor. Plaintiff does not cite, nor is the Court aware of any
case that holds signage is unreasonable if water is slightly
outside of a wet floor sign. Although the Court sympathizes
with Plaintiffs injuries, the Court grants Defendant's
motion for summary judgment.
Court is bound by the Louisiana Merchant Liability Statute,
which requires a Plaintiff to show that the merchant failed
to exercise reasonable care. Because Plaintiff admittedly
fell within only a foot or two of a wet ...