On January 26, a court decision ruled that the Burlington Coat Factory in Middlesex Mall is not responsible for a customer who slipped on the remnants of a berry on the store’s floor. According to the lawyer of the woman who slipped, the floor of the Burlington Coat Factory in South Plainfield, NJ is constantly littered with trash, dirt, and miscellaneous items that the store’s staff neglects to tidy.
The incident occurred in 2012, when Annette Troupe and her sister were shopping in the retailer’s baby section. According to the lawsuit, Troupe slipped on a “purplish” berry on the ground and fell, incurring serious knee and back injuries. She brought the lawsuit later that year.
But this January, the court ruled that it was not the store’s responsibility. To reaffirm their decision, the judges cited a case in which a fried chicken establishment wasn’t held responsible for cooking grease tracked into the restrooms that ultimately injured a woman who slipped on the grease.
These kinds of falls are extremely common, with 25% of all reported annual injury claims being attributed to slips, trips, and falls.
According to the Woodbridge Patch, Troupe’s lawyer argued that the staff should have been more diligent about cleaning up the baby aisle.
“Burlington . . . should have foreseen, that at various times those babies and children would be doing the things that babies and children normally do, including eating snacks, drinking drinks, and dropping things onto the floor,” said Troupe’s attorney.
But in their final decision, the judges noted that it is the responsibility of an outside service to clean the sales floor every morning before the store opens, and employees scan the aisles for trash and wayward objects.
Most importantly, since Troupe did not trip on anything that the Burlington Coat Factory was selling, the store is not responsible for her fall and injuries.