TORTS: NEGLIGENCE: PREMISES LIABILITY: SLIP AND FALL: FOUR MINUTES INSUFFICIENT TO IMPART CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE OF DANGEROUS CONDITION  

Walker v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., ___ So. 3d ___, 39 Fla. L. Weekly D1750 (Fla. 1st DCA August 20, 2014)

The plaintiff slipped and fell on unnoticeable drops of rainwater near the entrance to a supermarket.  Video surveillance reflected that the area was inspected by store personnel approximately three minutes before the accident occurred, and the plaintiff testified that very light misting rain began to fall one minute before the accident occurred.  Based upon these circumstances, the appellate court affirmed summary judgment for the supermarket because the plaintiff proceeded upon a constructive notice theory, and the plaintiff failed to sustain her burden under Section 768.0755, Florida Statutes, to establish, “The dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that, in the exercise of ordinary care, the business establishment should have known of the condition” or that the condition was foreseeable because it occurred with regularity.  “Here, however, there was no evidence of recurring water in the area in question or of prior incidents in that area.  At most, the alleged ‘unnoticeable’ water was present for no more than four minutes.  Nor was there any evidence of active negligence by [store] employees,” who began implementing rainy weather precautions by putting out an umbrella rack, but who had not yet put out mats or cones.