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Restaurant not responsible for elderly woman's fall and subsequent death

The Estate of 77-year old Nancy VanAntwerp sued the Grosse Pointe Village Grill, Inc., after she fell while leaving the restaurant. She suffered an intracranial bleed in the fall and died two weeks later.  The family claimed that the woman fell after a rubber mat slipped underneath her foot; they argued it hadn't been properly affixed to the slippery floor.  The family also argued that it was entitled to an inference the matt was defective because the restaurant failed to produce it for examination.

The Court first noted that the matt was actually owned and serviced by a third-party, leaving its production equally available to the Plaintiff.  On that basis, the family could not fault the Defendant for failing to produce it.  It also upheld the lower court's decision that the family had failed to provide evidence of the restaurant's negligence, given that the video surveillance of the exit appeared to show that Ms. Van Antwerp scuffed the edge of the matt upwards and then tripped.
Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
Fax: 231-929-7262