Negri v. Stop & Shop, Inc. (N.Y. 1985)

Procedural History: A trial court entered judgment for plaintiff in a slip and fall case after jury verdict for plaintiff. Appellate Division reversed and dismissed complaint.

Facts: A woman fell backward and hit her head directly on the floor where there were jars of broken baby food. A witness did not hear any jars falling from shelves or breaking in the previous 15 to 20 minutes prior to the accident and the aisle had not been cleaned or inspected for at least 50 minutes prior to the accident.

Issue: Is a supermarket liable for failing to notice a spill if a customer then is injured?

Rules: If a verdict is made against the weight of the evidence, an Appellate Division cannot dismiss the case and can only call for a new trial.

Application: If the supermarket should have noticed the fault or spill, then the supermarket is liable for damages for the injuries incurred by customers.

Conclusion: To constitute constructive notice, a defect must be visible and apparent and it must exist for a sufficient length of time prior to the accident to permit defendant’s employees to discover and remedy it.

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