Three noteworthy Premises Liability verdicts in Tennessee

Davidson County (Nashville). While walking down an aisle of a retailer, the plaintiff slipped on a wet floor and fell, tearing her meniscus tendon, and requiring surgery. Plaintiff’s primary proof was the store manager had walked the area moments before the plaintiff fell and had not addressed the wet floor. The defendant denied having actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition. The jury returned a verdict of 90% as to the defendant and 10% to the plaintiff, and awarded plaintiff $525,000. After reducing plaintiff’s comparative fault, the Court entered a judgment in the amount of $472,500.

Henry County (near Memphis). The plaintiff, 12 years of age, was playing outside an apartment. As he ran through the grass, he tripped in a hidden hole. The boy broke his hand on a growth plate, as well as three fingers. The boy’s mother sued the apartment, alleging that it failed to inspect and maintain the property. The apartment complex disputed that the hole was even on its property. They also implicated the plaintiff’s comparative fault, as there was proof that the child was racing another child at the time of his fall. The jury found both the boy and the apartment complex equally at fault and, therefore, found in favor of the defendant.

Davidson County (Nashville). The plaintiff entered a convenience store in downtown Nashville. She walked in and proceeded through the aisle to the bathroom. Upon exiting the bathroom a few minutes later, she slipped and fell on a just-mopped floor. Allegedly, the store employee had mopped the floor while she was in the bathroom. Plaintiff sustained a torn rotator cuff that had to be surgically repaired. The plaintiff’s medical bills totaled $46,277.00. Plaintiff alleged that the store was negligent for mopping the floor without placing a warning sign, and that having the floor mopped while she was in the bathroom, she had no reason to anticipate the peril. The convenience store argued that a wet floor sign was placed at the front of the store and that they denied that the employee would have had enough time to mop the floor while the plaintiff was in the bathroom. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, but assessed 49% fault to the plaintiff. They awarded damages in the amount of $46,277; plaintiff’s medical bills. After applying the comparative fault percentage, judgment was entered against the defendants in the amount of $23,601.

Sean W. Martin is a shareholder in the Chattanooga, Tennessee office and can be reached at and (423) 648-9834.


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