Tennessee Court of Appeals Rules on Wal-Mart Slip and Fall Case

slip and fallThe Tennessee Court of Appeals recently reached a decision in a slip and fall case against a Wal-Mart store in Nashville. In the case, Redmond v. WalMart Stores, Inc., Tenn. Ct. App. (2014), the plaintiff slipped on a puddle of water and fell inside a Nashville Wal-Mart store. As a result of the fall, she suffered injuries, and hired a lawyer to file a lawsuit. Unfortunately, the lawyer recorded the incident as happening on August 13 instead of August 12, and then filed the lawsuit one year later on August 13.

The complaint alleged that the plaintiff had suffered  “a severe jolt to her pelvis and back,” as a result of the fall, which “caused her to suffer serious and permanent injuries including, but not limited to, bruising, instability to her hip and pelvic area, and an aggravation of existing conditions.” It also alleged that the injury had impacted her ability to walk.

Wal-Mart then filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the statute of limitations for these types of cases, one year, had already passed. The plaintiffs argued that the discovery rule had tolled the statute of limitations, and that the trial court could extend the relevant period subject to a Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure.

The trial court decided to grant the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, finding that the discovery rule did not apply in the case, and that the lawyer’s error in the date of the incident, and thus the statute of limitations period, was not an incident of excusable neglect. The plaintiff thus appealed that determination to the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

The trial court concluded that the discovery rule did not apply in this case, because the plaintiff knew that she had been injured on the day of the fall, as evidenced by the bruising and soreness she sustained almost immediately. It was clear that she knew on that day that the facts would support a lawsuit against Wal-Mart, and therefore the statute of limitations was not tolled.

Regarding the plaintiff’s request that the trial court extend the statute of limitations according to a Tennessee civil procedure statute, the court of appeals found that there was no legal support for sustaining such an extension, and it therefore affirmed the trial court’s decision.

Therefore, the lower court’s decision in granting the motion for summary judgment was affirmed.

Tennessee property owners are responsible for keeping their premises safe for visitors. When accidents occur due to unsafe conditions on someone else’s property, the party in control of it should be held liable. The experienced injury attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard are dedicated to helping victims in the Nashville area and beyond pursue the compensation that they need, as well as follow all procedural rules of law to ensure the proper and timely filing of your case. Equipped with cutting-edge technology, our firm provides knowledgeable legal representation for individuals throughout Williamson and Davidson Counties, including in Green Hills and Brentwood. Contact us today to talk about your case at 615-800-7096.

More Blog Posts:
Driver Charged in Tracy Morgan Crash Had Not Slept in 24 Hours, Prosecutors Say, Tennessee Attorneys Blog, published June 9, 2014

More on ObamaCare, Tennessee Attorneys Blog, published October 3, 2014