18 U. Fla. L. Rev. 440 (1965-1966)
Supermarket Liability: Problems in Proving the Slip-and-Fall Case in Florida

handle is hein.journals/uflr18 and id is 456 raw text is: UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA LAW REVIEW

SUPERMARKET LIABILITY: PROBLEMS IN PROVING THE
SLIP-AND-FALL CASE IN FLORIDA
The past decade has brought a noticeable increase in tort liti-
gation involving Florida supermarkets. Some of this increase may
be attributed to the growing concept of products liability,' but by
far the greatest number of cases have arisen out of the slip-and-fall
accident. These cases usually arise when an invitee shopping for his
groceries slips on a foreign substance, such as a lettuce leaf or a
green bean. The resulting fall produces the injuries for which action
is brought.
A plaintiff injured in a slip-and-fall accident has several avenues
available for establishing the supermarket's liability. A cursory view
of these avenues would lead one to believe that recovery for injuries
sustained is virtually assured. Further, absent contributory negligence,
the injuries received would seem to merit compensation. Closer study,
however, reveals that there are almost insurmountable burdens of
proof blocking each avenue. These burdens and the practical prob-
lems in meeting them are the subject of this note. The emphasis
will be on Florida law, but the decisions of other jurisdictions will
be compared on many of the issues.
THE AVENUES OF PROOF
Generally, the duty of a supermarket owner is the same as that
of any store or property owner, that is, a business-invitee may expect
that the premises will be maintained in a reasonably safe condition.2
Although this involves a positive duty, the supermarket owner is
clearly not the insurer of his shoppers' safety.3 He may be held liable
only for breach of his duty to exercise reasonable care.4
With the rule of reasonable care as a foundation, the courts have
held that the duty of a supermarket owner not only involves care that
dangerous conditions are not created by him or his employees5 and
care that dangerous conditions once discovered are quickly remedied6
but also, that reasonable inspections be made to discover dangerous
conditions that may exist through no fault of the owner or his
1. See Note, Products Liability: Doctrinal Problems and the Restatement's
Answer, 17 U. FLA. L. REv. 421, 430 (1964).
2. Matson v. Tip Top Grocery Co., Inc., 151 Fla. 247, 9 So. 2d 366 (1942).
3. See Frederich's Mkt., Inc. v. Knox, 66 So. 2d 251 (Fla. 1953).
4. See Matson v. Tip Top Grocery, Inc., 151 Fla. 247, 9 So. 2d 366 (1942).
5. See Pogue v. Great At. & Pac. Tea Co., 242 F.2d 575 (5th Cir. 1957); Food
Fair Stores, Inc. v. Trusell, 131 So. 2d 730 (Fla. 1961).
6. See Berube v. Economy Grocery Stores Corp., 315 Mass. 89, 51 N.E.2d 777
(1943).

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