Trachtman & Trachtman, LLP Wins Another MSJ for Target

Facts: On October 17, 2010, an 80-year old male customer and his wife traveled to the Irvine, California Target store. When Plaintiff arrived to the store, it was raining outside. He and his wife walked into the store and on to the main aisle. Plaintiff was walking along the main aisle toward the greeting card display when he fell down to the floor. After the fall, two Target Team Members arrived to the scene to investigate. Both Team Members inspected the floor surface and found no foreign substances or debris near or within the spot of the fall. The Leader on Duty asked Plaintiff and his wife what, if anything, Plaintiff slipped on and neither of them could identify anything.

Further, Plaintiff and his wife testified in deposition that neither of them saw any liquid on the floor nor any other substance. Further, Plaintiff testified that he did not know if the spot of his fall was wet before he stepped into the spot. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Plaintiff claimed that he must have slipped on water dragged into the store by other patrons because it was raining when he entered the store. As for notice, there was no record of any Team Member through the area at any time reasonably close to the fall time.

Ben Trachtman defended the matter. Based on the foregoing evidence, Kevin Henderson took on the primary role of filing a MSJ in Federal Court on the basis that Plaintiff could not establish that he was injured on a dangerous condition existing within Target’s premises. Plaintiff could not establish that the fall location was wet prior to his fall nor that he fell due to any other foreign/dangerous condition.

Outcome: In June, 2012, U.S. District Court Judge Josephine Staton Tucker granted Target’s MSJ while specifically relying on Plaintiff’s deposition testimony that he could not identify a specific substance causing him to fall and that he did not know that the spot of his fall was wet before he stepped into the spot.