Appeals court upholds decision against cop who sued over slip and fall incident

By Elizabeth Young | Apr 18, 2013

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

NEW ORLEANS – A Mississippi police officer who sued an oil change business over slip and fall injuries he sustained on duty has lost his appeal at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Tonnie Collins originally filed suit against Flash Lube Oil Inc. alleging he had been seriously injured on the premises. The incident in question occurred when Collins responded to a dispute between a manager and a costumer at the store.

Collins believed that a physical altercation was about to take place and stepped between two men to prevent it. He then lost his footing and fell, seriously injuring himself.

Collins sued, accusing Flash Lube of negligence for permitting him to enter the oil change area, resulting in the injury. A district court later granted summary judgment for Flash Lube.

In a per curiam opinion Circuit Judges Thomas Morrow Reavley, E. Grady Jolly and W. Eugene Davis ruled that because Collins was at the store in his official capacity, the company’s only duty to him was “to refrain from willfully or wantonly injuring him.”

The panel upheld the district court’s dismissal of the case.

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