Judge denies motion for summary judgment in slip-and-fall accident at Wendy's restaurant in Gretna

By Lauren Shea | Apr 23, 2019

NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana recently denied a motion for summary judgment requested by Haza Foods of Louisiana LLC and Wendy’s International LLC in a personal injury lawsuit filed by Erin M. Marine.

In the April 5 filing, U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan denied the motion in the lawsuit filed by Marine, who claimed she was injured in a slip-and-fall accident inside a Wendy's restaurant in Gretna on April 14, 2017.

In her lawsuit, Marine claimed that as she made her way to the condiment counter at the Wendy’s restaurant, she slipped on a "slippery substance that can be identified as water and soap from a mopping that was performed by a Wendy’s employee.”

There were multiple witnesses to the incident, including Shawn Wells and Christine Billiot, court filings said. Both Wells and Billiot claimed that the floor in the area where Marine fell was glossy in appearance. While no witnesses testified to seeing an employee mop the area, Wells said he watched water spill onto the floor as an employee moved a mop and bucket set.

Lorintha Houston, a Wendy’s employee who was present at the time of the incident, claimed that the floor had not recently been mopped and that the floor seemed dry when presented with a picture of the area, court filings said.

All parties questioned agreed that there was a "wet floor" sign set up in the restaurant, but disagree as to when and where it was put up, court filings said. 

Marine claims the she could not see the sign, as it was on the side of an island counter, opposite of her location, while Houston said that the sign was located in the area where Marine fell. Wells and Billiot both said they saw the sign after the incident, with Wells asserting he saw an employee retrieve the sign after Marine fell, court filings said.

Morgan's ruling said the law states that “(a) merchant owes a duty to persons who use his premises to exercise reasonable care to keep his aisles, passageways, and floors in a reasonably safe condition.”

In the ruling, Morgan concluded "factual disputes regarding the condition of the floor, the presence of a Wendy’s employee mopping and the presence of a wet floor sign are material to a determination of whether a condition existed at the Wendy’s location which created an unreasonable risk of harm. ...These material factual disputes preclude summary judgment." 

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana Case No. 2:17-cv-10746-SM-MBN

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U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana Wendy's International Inc.

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