Lane slipped and sustained injury in a restroom at Hardee’s. He claimed that he slipped on water that was negligently left on the floor by a restaurant employee soon after the employee mopped the restroom floor. The district court entered judgment as a matter of law for Hardee’s. Lane appealed.
Once a plaintiff has presented the minimum evidence necessary to support a verdict, the court may not weigh it.
Lane sued Hardee’s, a restaurant owner, after he slipped and was injured in the restaurant’s restroom. Lane claimed that he slipped on water that was negligently left on the restroom floor by a Hardee’s employee after the floor was mopped. At trial, Lane presented testimony of the Hardee’s managers regarding the schedule for when the restroom floor was mopped, when warning signs regarding the mopping were put out, and when the restrooms were checked. Based on this evidence, Lane was prepared to argue to the jury that he slipped in the restroom soon after a scheduled mopping and that the restaurant was responsible for mop water being left on the floor and failing to warn that the floor was wet. The trial court concluded, after hearing Lane’s case, that he had failed produce evidence that Hardee’s had actually left water on the floor, and that Hardee’s was entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Did the district court err in determining that Hardee’s was entitled to judgment as a matter of law?
Yes. The district court’s judgment in favor of Hardee’s was improper. The district court’s decision was reversed and the case was remanded.
Lane met his burden of presenting sufficient evidence upon which a reasonable jury could base a verdict in his favor. Specifically, he came forward with evidence that Hardee’s, rather than another customer in the restroom, had spilled the water on the restroom floor.