Court dismisses severe injury case after electronic door sensors malfunction on grocery shopper
Delores Tyler was severely hurt when she paused at the doorway of the McCord's Farm Market and the electronic door closed on her. While the door was installed properly according to the industry standards in 2004, the standards were revised the following year to require that an electronic door recognize a stationary person in the doorway. The door at McCord's was never up-dated and did not comply with the applicable industry standards when Tyler was hurt several years later.
The Farm Market's insurer rejected Tyler's claim and when Tyler filed a lawsuit, it asked the court to grant summary disposition. Apparently during cross-examination, Tyler's electronic door expert testified that while the doorway was not "unreasonably dangerous," the doorway sensors were defective, not up to code, and unsafe. He claimed that the Farm Market was negligent in failing to replace the sensors when maintenance experts twice advised it that the sensors were out-of-date and needed to be replaced with sensors that would respond to an exiting customer who paused in the doorway.
The trial judge and the Court of Appeals seized on the partial admission that the doorway was not "unreasonably dangerous" according to the engineer and granted the Market summary disposition. It held that a juror could not conclude, under the evidence presented, that the Farm Market was negligent in failing to replace the out-of-date sensors--even after their non-compliance with ANSI standards was brought to the owners' attention on two separate occasions.