31 Duq. L. Rev. 587 (1992-1993)
Leveling the Playing Field between Merchants and Customers in Pennsylvania Slip and Fall Negligence Cases; Coulter, Mark T.

handle is hein.journals/duqu31 and id is 603 raw text is: Leveling the Playing Field between Merchants and
Customers in Pennsylvania Slip and Fall
Negligence Cases
INTRODUCTION
A customer injured in a slip and fall incident in a supermarket
in Pennsylvania will have to address a number of hurdles before he
wins a recovery for his injuries. The toughest hurdle will most
likely be the requirement of the Pennsylvania courts that the cus-
tomer establish that the merchant had notice before the incident
took place of the specific hazard which caused the plaintiff's fall,
and that the merchant then failed to take reasonable steps to cor-
rect it. This notice hurdle is often insurmountable and its exis-
tence unduly tilts the table in favor of the merchant. This author
submits that the Pennsylvania courts need to either apply the ex-
isting law in this area in a more even-handed fashion or change the
law to eliminate the bias against the consumer. Unless the court-
room playing field is leveled to give the injured customer a fighting
chance, slip and fall plaintiffs in Pennsylvania will continue to suf-
fer defeat before the court.
The basic tenet underlying negligence law in Pennsylvania, as
well as in the nation generally, is the notion that every individual
has a responsibility to see that the activities in which he or she
engages do not expose others to unreasonable risks of harm.1 This
concept is defined and limited in the area of civil tort litigation
through the application of two elements: (1) a supposedly liable
actor must first be found to have a duty to protect another from
the foreseeable results of the actor's conduct and (2) the actor
must fail to pursue reasonable efforts to fulfill that duty.2
In applying these general propositions, the courts and those
practicing therein have found it useful to create verbal definitions
and explanations of these general propositions as they apply to
specific situations. Such definitions and explanations serve a useful
purpose to the extent that they help to lead to similar results in
1. ' Borsa v Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, 207 Pa Super 63, 215 A2d 289,
291 (1965).
2. Palenscar v Bobb, 439 Pa 101, 266 A2d 478, 480 (1970).

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