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Kroger denied that customer fell in store as claimed
Oakland County, Circuit Court
knee-knee contusion; arterial/vascular-embolism; pulmonary/respiratory
Premises Liability – Store, Failure to Warn; Slips, Trips & Falls – Slip and Fall; Premises Liability – Dangerous Condition, Negligent Repair and/or Maintenance
Jenny Shampine v. Kroger Co. of Michigan,
December 9, 2014
Jenny Shampine (Female, 59 Years)
James D. Bloom;
Zamler Mellen & Shiffman, PC;
Kroger Co. of Michigan
Mark R. Johnson;
Nemier Matthieu Nash & Johnson, PLLC;
Kroger Co. of Michigan
On July 18, 2013, plaintiff Jenny Shampine, 59, unemployed, was shopping at a Kroger grocery store on John R Road in Hazel Park. Shampine alleged that she slipped and fell to her knees in water near the refrigerated lunchmeat area. She claimed an individual she described as a "fire department person" walked her to the lunchmeat aisle where she was able to sit. Shampine claimed the fall caused a pulmonary embolism. Shampine sued Kroger Co. of Michigan based on a premises liability theory. Shampine alleged that she slipped and fell in water on the floor. She argued that Kroger knew or should have known the water was on the floor, yet allowed a dangerous condition to exist without providing any warning to customers, such as placing warning cones. She also argued that Kroger failed to properly clean and maintain the area. Kroger disputed any negligence and denied it had notice of the dangerous condition, if there was one. In fact, Kroger denied that a fall occurred. Kroger had video of the area in the store where Shampine alleged she fell. The video did not show the fall, although it did show Shampine sitting near the lunchmeat aisle. The video showed that she walked alone through the area of where the fall was alleged to have occurred and came back to the lunchmeat area with an employee, gesturing at the floor.
Shampine claimed bilateral knee injuries, but did not seek medical treatment until one month post-accident. At that time, she complained of chest pain and was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism, for which she received treatment. Shampine argued that the embolism was directly caused by the alleged fall. Kroger contended that Shampine was not injured in its store, and that any attempt to connect a fall to her pulmonary embolism one month later was speculative. Further, Kroger argued that Shampine suffered from other pre-existing risk factors, including insulin-dependent diabetes, obesity, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and prior transient ischemic attacks (TIA).
The court granted a directed verdict to the defendant on the issue of liability.
Martha D. Anderson
This report is based on information that was provided by defense counsel. Plaintiff’s counsel did not respond to a request for comment.