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Rare decision allows a fall victim to go to trial

Gloria Watts fell on her way to the restroom at Fast Eddie's Oil Change in Ingham County.  Perhaps the defendants worked a little too fast on this occasion, as Watts claimed that she fell in a slippery spot that smelled of oil.  The owner's insurer argued that she was merely speculating about what caused her to fall and sought summary disposition, which the trial judge granted.

On appeal the higher court noted that even though Watts testified she did not see any oil on the red cement floor, her testimony formed a basis to have the jury evaluate her claim.  It noted that immediately after she fell she attributed her fall to oil and claimed that the floor was "shiny and slippery" and "there was oil" in the area.  It further noted that she claimed to have disposed of her clothing, because she could not get the oil washed out of it.  Under these facts, the cause of her fall was not pure "speculation" and a reasonable juror could conclude that she knew what caused her fall.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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