APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 764-729, DIVISION
"K" HONORABLE ELLEN SHIRER KOVACH, JUDGE PRESIDING
PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, ADRIAN WILLIAMS DaShawn P. Hayes
DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, SUPERVALU, INC. AND MORAN FOODS, LLC
D/B/A SAVE-A-LOT, LTD John T. Roethele Megan P. Foreman
composed of Judges Fredericka Homberg Wicker, Stephen J.
Windhorst, and Hans J. Liljeberg
FREDERICKA HOMBERG WICKER JUDGE
slip and fall case, plaintiff-patron appeals the judgment in
favor of merchant-defendant rendered following a bench trial.
For the following reasons, we affirm the trial court
and Procedural Background
September 14, 2016, plaintiff, Adrian Williams, filed suit in
the Twenty-Fourth Judicial District Court for the Parish of
Jefferson against Supervalu, Inc. and Moran Foods, LLC d/b/a
Save-A-Lot (hereinafter "Save-A-Lot"), for personal
injuries allegedly arising from a September 26, 2015 slip and
fall accident at the Airline Drive Save-A-Lot store location.
The matter proceeded to trial on October 10, 2017, before the
Honorable Ellen Kovach.
trial, plaintiff testified that she was grocery shopping in
the produce department of the Airline Drive Save-A-Lot store
on September 26, 2015. As she walked through the produce
section, she spoke briefly with a store employee, later
identified as George Gibbs, stocking grapes onto the produce
shelves. After speaking with Mr. Gibbs, as she walked away,
she slipped on a purple grape on the floor and fell to the
ground. Plaintiff testified that she hit her shoulder and
busted her lip on the metal railing of the produce shelving,
hit both knees onto the floor, and lost consciousness
immediately after the fall. Plaintiff testified that she has
no knowledge of how the grape fell onto the floor or for how
long the grape was on the floor prior to her fall.
testified that she sustained head, neck, back, shoulder, and
knee pain from the accident. She treated with Southshore
Physicians Group for her soft tissue injuries until she was
referred for orthopedic care for her shoulder and knee pain.
However, plaintiff testified that although she still suffered
from pain at the time of trial, she could not afford to treat
with an orthopedic specialist. She testified that she has not
sought medical treatment for accident-related pain since
February of 2016.
Hammonds, the Save-A-Lot store manager, testified at trial
that he was present on the date of plaintiff's fall and
he responded to the produce department after the accident.
Mr. Hammonds testified that he spoke with plaintiff, reviewed
the surveillance videos from the time plaintiff entered the
store through the time of her fall, and asked plaintiff to
complete an incident report. Mr. Hammonds stated that when he
reviewed the surveillance video, he observed Mr. Gibbs walk
through the produce department to stock grapes onto the
shelves. He stated he did not observe Mr. Gibbs drop any
grapes on the floor while carrying the tray of grapes to
restock. Furthermore, he testified that he observed another
female customer pushing a cart in the produce section, who
was putting a bag of grapes in her cart before the accident.
He saw the same female customer taking the grapes out of her
bag and snacking on the grapes approximately one minute
before the accident. The video surveillance was introduced
into evidence and played at trial. Mr. Hammonds pointed out
to the court that, immediately after the other female
customer pushed her cart to leave the produce section, a
reddish grape appears on the floor. Immediately thereafter,
another customer is seen walking towards the produce shelving
and steps on the grape that is on the floor. Seconds later,
plaintiff slips on the same grape. Mr. Hammonds testified,
and the surveillance video reflects, that the grape was on
the floor approximately 25 seconds before plaintiff's
the accident, Mr. Hammonds completed a video incident report,
in which he concluded, "Customer slipped on grape.
Camera shot shows grape on floor 30 seconds prior [to]
incident. Grape fell from cart. Customer, white female, red
shirt." He concluded based upon the video surveillance
that the grape plaintiff stepped on fell out of another
customer's cart soon before plaintiff's fall. The
incident report further reported that plaintiff complained of
a busted lip and left knee pain.
George Gibbs, the store's produce manager at the time of
the accident, also testified at trial. He testified that he
arrived to the store at 7:00 a.m. on the morning of the
accident and began restocking produce. Concerning the grapes,
he testified that he retrieved in total four crates of grapes
from the warehouse. He explained that each crate contains
cardboard trays of grapes from various manufacturers, which
are each wrapped in cellophane packaging, and are to be
restocked onto the produce shelves. The surveillance video
reflects that Mr. Gibbs was restocking grapes at the time of
Theodore Irra with Southshore Physicians Group testified that
he treated plaintiff for soft tissue injuries, including knee
pain, from October 2, 2015, through December 14, 2015.
Plaintiff reported that she slipped and fell in a grocery
store and that she suffered from retrograde amnesia after the
fall. Dr. Irra testified that his records reflect that
plaintiff reported "waking up with her face pressed
against the freezer. Patient had knot on her bottom lip and a
small cut." Although plaintiff's other soft-tissue
injury complaints resolved, plaintiff continued to complain
of right shoulder and knee pain, which caused Dr. Irra to
order an MRI of plaintiff's right knee and right
shoulder. Dr. Irra testified that plaintiff's right knee
MRI reflected a likely sprain of the anterior meniscus and a
tear in the lateral meniscus. The right shoulder MRI
reflected a probable nerve impingement. Dr. Irra discharged
plaintiff on ...