United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
K. Majzoub United States Magistrate Judge.
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN
PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
GERSHWIN A. DRAIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Jeanne Taylor initiated this action in state court on
December 20, 2016. See Dkt. No. 1-1, p. 3 (Pg. ID
10). Plaintiff filed this action against Defendant PetSmart,
Inc., alleging two claims: ordinary negligence (Count I) and
premises liability (Count II). See Id. at pp. 4-6
(Pg. ID 11-13). The Defendant removed the case to this Court
on January 17, 2017. See Dkt. No. 1.
Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on October 26,
2017, and this motion is fully briefed. See Dkt. No.
13. The Court held oral argument on the motion on Tuesday,
January 8, 2018 at 10:00 a.m.
before the Court is the Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment . Ruling from the bench during oral argument on
Defendant's motion, the Court GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED
IN PART the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment .
The Court granted the motion on the ordinary negligence claim
(Count I) and denied the motion on the premises liability
claim (Count II).
Plaintiff is a resident of Livonia, Michigan, and Defendant
PetSmart owns and operates a store in this city. Dkt. No.
1-1, pp. 3-4 (Pg. ID 10-11). On a cold, snowy winter day in
January 2014, Plaintiff entered Defendant's store.
Id. at pp. 4, 45 (Pg. ID 11, 136). While walking
down an aisle, she “fell violently to the floor,
” after “slip[ing] on a clear liquid that could
not be seen.” Id. at p. 4 (Pg. ID 11).
incident report about Plaintiff's fall, PetSmart employee
Karla Eakin wrote that “there was a strip of water on
the floor” and this water “was immediately
cleaned up.” Dkt. No. 17, p. 17-18 (Pg. ID 214-15). The
record does not contain deposition testimony from Eakin.
what caused the accident, Plaintiff testified “I have
no idea. I slipped on something. I didn't see anything
and I wasn't aware.” Dkt. No. 13, p. 45 (Pg. ID
136). She continued “my foot went out from under me
like this, so there was something on the floor. I don't
know what it was, if it was water or what, I'm not
sure.” Id. Plaintiff did say, however, that
her jacket was wet after she fell. Id.
people in the store when Plaintiff fell testified about the
incident. At the time of the accident, Brooke Bourdage was
working in the store for a third-party vendor. Id.
at p. 53 (Pg. ID 144). Bourdage testified that she witnessed
Plaintiff's fall “out of the corner of [her] eye,
” and does not remember seeing water, or any other
hazards, on the floor where Plaintiff fell. Id. at
pp. 53-54 (Pg. ID 144-45). Ten or fifteen minutes after the
accident Brittany Blaskay, a PetSmart employee, surveyed the
aisle where Plaintiff fell. Id. at p. 65 (Pg. ID
156). In a deposition, Blaskay described the condition of the
aisle, saying “I saw nothing on the floor. I didn't
see any water, nothing.” Id.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), “[a] court shall
grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” A court must
view the facts, and draw reasonable inferences from the
facts, in the light most favorable to the non-moving party.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255
(1986). No. genuine dispute of material fact exists where the
record “taken as a whole could not lead a rational
trier of fact to find for the non-moving party.”
Matsushita Elec. Indus., Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). The key inquiry is “whether
the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require
submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one
party must prevail as a matter of law.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52.