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Proverbial fall on grapes in grocery store is not ground for lawsuit

Margareet Ann Wilson, the guardian of mentally incompetent Ronald Thorne, filed suit alleging that A & P was responsible for the injuries Thorne suffered after a fall in the grocery store's produce department.  Video tape of the incident showed that Thorne had, in fact, fallen on grapes and Thorne's attorneys argued that the fall was caused by the negligence of a grocery store employee.  They also argued that the grapes were not an "open and obvious" hazard, since their presence on the floor was obscured by an apple cart being unloaded by an A & P employee.

After reviewing the video, the Court held that Thorne's family had not established a viable claim.  It first noted that the grapes were apparent to a reasonable person on casual inspection, and therefore they presented an "open and obvious" danger which A & P was under no duty to eliminate.  Further, the Court held that there was no evidence to establish either that negligence of a store employee negligently "caused" the condition, nor that employees had sufficient notice of the condition to enable them to act to correct it.  On this basis, Thorne's claim was not viable under any theory recognized under Michigan premises law.
Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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