United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division
F. Anderson, Jr. United States District Judge
case arises from a slip and fall personal injury sustained by
Plaintiff Bobby Jane Wilson ("Wilson") while she
was a patron at a Sumter, South Carolina location of the
Defendant Wal-Mart Inc. ("Wal-Mart"). Plaintiff
alleged a sole cause of action of negligence against
Defendant. Defendant has filed a motion for summary judgment
per Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure claiming
that Plaintiff’s sole cause of action of negligence
should be dismissed.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
11, 2013, Plaintiff entered a Wal-Mart store located at 1283
Broad Street, Sumter, South Carolina with a companion, John
Taylor ("Taylor"). While Plaintiff was shopping in
the store, she slipped and fell on a substance as she walked
by the meat display case. Plaintiff testified that the
substance that she slipped on was pinkish, covered
approximately one inch of the floor, and was very close to
the meat display case. Plaintiff further testified that she
had no information to show that any Wal-Mart employees knew
that the pinkish substance was on the floor prior to her
February 2, 2015, Plaintiff filed a Complaint alleging that
Defendant was negligent in (1) allowing a slippery substance
to remain on the floor where customers were walking; (2)
failing to warn Plaintiff that a slippery substance was on
the floor; (3) failing to properly maintain the floor to
prevent slippery substances from being on the floor, and (4)
failing to inspect the area where Plaintiff fell. (ECF No.
April 21, 2016, Defendant filed a motion for summary
judgment. (ECF No. 21). Plaintiff timely filed a response in
opposition to Defendant’s motion on May 4, 2016, and
Defendant timely filed a reply to Plaintiff’s response.
(ECF No. 23; ECF No. 25). On June 1, 2016, oral argument was
held before this Court. (ECF No. 28). Therefore, this matter
is ripe for review by the Court.
Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary
judgment is proper when there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322 (1986). A material fact is one that "might
affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law."
Spriggs v. Diamond Auto Glass, 242 F.3d 179, 183
(4th Cir. 2001) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). A dispute of material
fact is "genuine" if sufficient evidence favoring
the non-moving party exists for the trier of fact to return a
verdict for that party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at
moving party bears the initial burden of showing the absence
of a genuine dispute of material fact. Celotex, 477
U.S. at 323. If the moving party meets that burden and a
properly supported motion is before the court, the burden
shifts to the non-moving party to "set forth specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial."
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Celotex, 477
U.S. at 323. All inferences must be viewed in a light most
favorable to the non-moving party, but he "cannot create
a genuine issue of material fact through mere speculation or
the building of one inference upon another." Beale
v. Hardy, 769 F.2d 213, 214 (4th Cir. 1985).
are 2 issues that must be decided by the Court:
Whether any genuine issue of material fact exists regarding
whether Defendant created the hazard.
Whether Defendant had any actual or constructive knowledge of
the hazard prior to Plaintiff’s slip and fall.