NEW ORLEANS — A woman's slip-and-fall case against Wal-Mart has
new life at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
In a ruling handed down on March 8, the appeals court reversed and
remanded the injury case to the Western District of Louisiana,
finding that there were multiple disputes of material fact in the
lower court's summary-judgment ruling for Wal-Mart.
The case was originally brought by plaintiff Amanda Riggio, who
claimed injuries from slipping on water that had leaked onto the
floor from a “negligently maintained roof” in September 2012,
according to court
documents. Riggio died and was replaced as plaintiff by the
administratrix of her estate, Loring Deshotel, the court record
Both parties acknowledged that the store's roof leaked, but they
did not agree as to the leaks' size and frequency of occurrence
Riggio claimed that the leaks were throughout the store, but Wal-Mart
claimed they were confined to “a few discrete areas where new
skylights had been installed.” Wal-Mart further claimed that there
was no evidence the water Riggio slipped on came from its roof.
Riggio's lawsuit alleged that injuries from slipping on water that
leaked from the roof that Wal-Mart negligently maintained entitled
her to an award of damages.
In its summary-judgment motion, the store argued that Riggio could
not prove a necessary element for a negligence claim — that being
that the store had “actual or constructive notice of the condition”
that caused the damage before the occurrence.
The appeals-court panel, which included Judges Jerry Smith, Edith
Clement and Leslie Southwick, found that based on the evidence
presented, a "reasonable
jury" could have found that the store's leaking roof caused
"That is enough for her to survive summary judgment on this
point," Smith wrote.
“We place no limitation on the matters the district court may
address and decide on remand, nor do we suggest what are the ultimate
merits of Riggio’s claim,” the ruling