District court grants summary judgment to Dollar General in slip and fall case

By Gabriel Neves | Apr 16, 2019

NEW ORLEANS – Retailer Dollar General, which was being sued by a customer after slipping and falling at one of its stores, has obtained a victory in court.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, on the bench of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, issued a 13-page ruling on March 11, granting summary judgment in the lawsuit filed by Phillis Cone against DG Louisiana LLC.

Cone sued Dollar General after claiming she slipped on a piece of plastic when shopping for potato chips, suffering several injuries.

"On Dec. 29, 2016, Phillis Cone, accompanied by her two grandchildren, visited a Dollar General store located in Bush," Feldman wrote, when "Ms. Cone approached the potato chip aisle, with her grandchildren trailing behind, she allegedly slipped and caught her right arm on a potato chip rack."

The incident was captured by security cameras located inside the store. Cone said that the object she slipped on was a plastic lid from a milk jug.

"As a result of the incident, Ms. Cone allegedly sustained a tear to her right rotator cuff and a disc bulge at the L4-L6 levels," Feldman wrote. "Cone sued DG Louisiana, LLC on Dec. 27, 2017 in the 22nd Judicial District Court for the Parish of St. Tammany, asserting that Dollar General’s negligence caused her injuries. On Feb. 7, 2018, Dollar General removed the lawsuit to this court, invoking the court’s diversity jurisdiction. Dollar General now seeks summary judgment in its favor, contending that Ms. Cone cannot prove all of the essential elements of her claim under Louisiana’s Merchant Liability Act, La. R.S. § 9:2800.6, or establish that the piece of plastic caused her to fall."

In his ruling, judge Feldman stated that "the plaintiff has presented nothing on this record that the condition existed for some period of time prior to her fall," adding that "bound by the patently protective character of Louisiana’s Merchant Liability Act, the court finds that the plaintiff fails to establish an essential element of her claim as required by Louisiana law and that Dollar General is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana Case No. 2:18-cv-01247-MLCF-DMD

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