The supermarket kept an old decrepit refrigeration unit in its produce section. The store knew the refrigeration unit had a history of leaking water according to the testimony of employees and customers. Employees had seen it fail. Customers had complained. The store did not replace or adequately repair the unit. Employees just mopped up when it leaked.
One morning the machine leaked water over and over causing the produce manager to mop up “probably” more than ten times according to his sworn testimony. He testified he kept mopping the water because it “I could slip in it myself.”
A customer came through the produce section. The water spill was obscured by display cases in the center of the produce aisle. She saw no warning sign. Her feet left the floor when she stepped into the water. She suffered permanent nerve damage to her arm. She was a hairdresser. She could no longer use her arm to cut hair for any prolonged period.
The store and its insurance company did not take responsibility for failing to replace or repair the machine, or adequately warn customers like our client–in spite of the fact that the machine had a history of failing, had leaked over and over all morning, and presented a slip and fall hazard so serious that even though he was aware of the leak the produce manager was concerned that “I could slip in it myself.”
The store’s insurance company offered the customer less than $5,000, which would not even cover her medical expenses. She hired us.
After almost three years of litigation, we settled the case for $52,500, more than ten times the original offer.