Walmart denies liability in customer’s suit alleging slip, fall on air freshener

Walmart argues that a customer failed to keep a proper lookout when she allegedly slipped and fell on an air freshener that was on the restroom floor.

Walmart answered the complaint on Oct. 8 through attorney James DeFranco of DeFranco & Bradley PC in Fairview Heights, denying liability.

In its affirmative defenses, Walmart argues that the sole proximate cause of plaintiff Carmen Huff’s injuries was her “failure to look where plaintiff was walking and keep a proper lookout and otherwise exercise due care for plaintiff’s safety.”

Huff originally filed the complaint on Aug. 25 in the Madison County Circuit Court through attorney Patrick Sullivan of Pratt & Tobin PC in East Alton.

Walmart removed the lawsuit to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on Oct. 8, arguing that removal is property due to the diversity in citizenship and amount in controversy.

Walmart argues that Huff’s counsel issued a settlement demand for $200,000 on May 30, 2019, and advised the defendant that Huff has undergone an open reduction and internal fixation to correct a right radius fracture.

“Based on the alleged medical expenses, the alleged wage loss, the alleged pain and suffering, the alleged loss of a normal life, the alleged disability and disfigurement, and counsel for plaintiff’s affidavit that plaintiff’s alleged damages exceed $50,000, defendant asserts to the court that a preponderance of the evidence known to date establishes that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs,” the removal notice states.

According to Huff’s complaint, she was at the Granite City Walmart located off Pontoon Road on Aug. 26, 2019. She claims she was attempting to use the family restroom intended for use by customers and visitors when she slipped and fell on an air freshener that was on the floor.

Huff claims she suffered injuries to her left and right knees, rib cage, chest muscles, and groin, among other injuries.

Huff alleges Walmart was responsible for inspecting and maintaining the restroom in a reasonably safe condition.

Huff accuses Walmart of failing to inspect, maintain and clean the restroom, allowing an air freshener to remain on the floor and failing to warn customers of the restroom’s condition.

Federal judge Phil Gilbert was previously assigned to the case but recused himself on Oct. 13.

The case went back to Chief Judge Nancy Rosenstengel, who referred it to mandatory mediation and set a presumptive jury trial for November 2022 if mediation is unsuccessful.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois case number 3:21-cv-1231

This article was first published in Madison Record.

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