FROM THE TWELFTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF AVOYELLES,
NO. 2016-3415-B HONORABLE WILLIAM BENNETT, DISTRICT JUDGE
P. Roy Brandon J. Scott Benjamin D. James Renee Y. Roy Roy
Scott & James COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE: Lemarr
J. Wanek Trevor C. Davies McCranie, Sistrunk, Anzelmo, Hardy,
McDaniel & Welch COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: DG
composed of Billy Howard Ezell, Shannon J. Gremillion, and D.
Kent Savoie, Judges.
KENT SAVOIE JUDGE
DG Louisiana, LLC ("Dollar General"), appeals a
judgment in favor of Plaintiff, Lamarr Pierite, finding
Dollar General liable for a slip-and-fall incident and
awarding Mr. Pierite with $30, 000.00 in general damages, in
addition to special damages and costs. For the following
reasons, we reverse and render judgment in favor of
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Pierite alleges that he was injured on August 27, 2015, at a
Dollar General store in Marksville, Louisiana, when he
slipped and fell in a liquid substance on the floor. He was
twenty-three years old at the time. He alleges that as a
result of the incident he sustained injuries to his back,
neck, and left shoulder.
Pierite filed a petition for damages against Dollar General
on August 12, 2016. A bench-trial was held August 23, 2017.
Mr. Pierite's counsel elicited testimony from Mr. Pierite
and from his treating physician, Dr. Dixie Clement. In
addition, various evidence was accepted into the record
including video surveillance showing the incident,
photographs of Mr. Pierite and the scene following the
incident, Mr. Pierite's medical records from Dr. Clement,
and deposition testimony of Sherie Harris, who was at the
Dollar General at the time of the incident in connection with
her employment with a greeting card company.
Mr. Pierite presented his case, Dollar General moved for an
involuntary dismissal, arguing that Mr. Pierite had failed to
prove that Dollar General had actual or constructive notice
of the alleged liquid on the floor. The trial court denied
the motion. Thereafter, Ms. Linda Hargrave, the store manager
of Dollar General who was present at the time of the
incident, was called to testify. Following the presentation
of evidence, the trial court took the matter under
the trial court found Dollar General liable and awarded Mr.
Pierite $30, 000.00 in general damages, $2, 670.27 in special
damages, $1, 500.00 for expert witness fees, $79.50 for
medical record costs, legal interest, and court costs.
written reasons for judgment, the trial court stated:
Pierite clearly slipped and fell. Pierite's testimony was
very credible that there was some type of liquid that he fell
in and that this liquid was on the rear of his body on his
clothes. The evidence is also undisputed that Hargrave did
not look at his rear for this purpose.
Because the video evidence clearly shows traffic in the area
where Pierite fell, which included a small child drinking a
beverage prior to Pierite's fall, this Court can
reasonably infer that it is likely that this was the cause of
the liquid on the floor, and that the liquid remained on the
floor for some time prior to Pierite's fall.
Based on the above, this Court finds that that plaintiff has
proven more probable than not that there was a liquid on the
floor of the Dollar General Store that caused his fall; this
liquid was on the floor for a sufficient period of time
wherein Dollar General ...