Court dismisses Slip-and-Fall claim against Superstore, says "no evidence" fall was caused by moisture

In reasons for judgment released today, the court in Hanes v. Loblaws Inc., 2017 BCSC 102, dismissed the plaintiff’s claim against Superstore in a slip-and-fall case.  The plaintiff in Hanes slipped and fell just inside the entrance of a Superstore in Kelowna, BC, injuring her right knee and lower back.  The incident occurred in early December, and there was snow and slush on the ground that had been tracked into the store by customers.  At the time of the fall there was a warning cone in the entrance and an employee was mopping up the floor.  Additionally, the plaintiff had just come from church and was wearing two-inch high heel shoes with leather soles.  In dismissing the plaintiff’s claim, Madam Justice Russell wrote as follows:

[131]     In the circumstances of this case, it is clear that the defendant Loblaws had in place a system to guard against any dangerous substance remaining on the floor’s surface...

[139]     There is simply no evidence that Ms. Hanes’ fall was caused by moisture on the floor, whether that was a pool of water, or just general moisture causing the surface to become unreasonably slippery.

...

[143]     It is my view that Ms. Hanes’ shoes were already wet when she entered the store due both to her crossing the snowy church parking lot, and residual moisture on the concrete outside the store.

[144]     With the wet leather soles and high heels she was wearing, it would have been very easy for her to skid a little on her right high heel and to turn her ankle, causing her to fall. However, assigning any cause to her fall is itself speculative.

[145]     In my view, her fall was truly an accident and liability cannot be found against Superstore.

[146]     I also cannot find fault with the quality of the surface of the floor in the Superstore, and I find that the program in place to keep the floor as clean and dry as possible in the circumstances met a reasonable standard of safety.

[148]     Ms. Hanes has not established that Loblaws is liable for her fall and injuries...

[149]     The plaintiff’s action is dismissed with costs to the defendant.

The text of the full decision can be found here: http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/sc/17/01/2017BCSC0102.htm