Circuit Court Overseeing Maine District Courts Issues Opinion in Slip-and-Fall Case

Earlier this year, the First Circuit Court of Appeals issued a written opinion in a premises liability case involving a slip-and-fall accident at a wedding. While the case did not arise under Maine law, it is relevant to Maine slip-and-fall accident victims because it shows the tendencies of the federal circuit court overseeing Maine courts. The case required the court to determine if the lower court correctly denied the plaintiff’s post-trial motion seeking judgment as a matter of law. Ultimately, the court concluded that the evidence supported the jury’s verdict, dismissing the plaintiff’s case.

As the court described the events leading up to the filing of the lawsuit, the plaintiff was a guest at a wedding which was located at the defendant resort. The wedding venue was adjacent to the swimming pool. As the night went on, and guests began to enjoy themselves, several of the guests started jumping in the pool. After getting into the pool, the guests returned to the dance floor. This resulted in the dance floor getting wet.

The plaintiff was walking across the dance floor, heading to the restroom to change into her bathing suit, when she slipped and fell. As a result of her fall, she fractured her wrist and seriously injured her back. The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against the resort. The case proceeded to trial, where a jury determined that the resort was not negligent. The plaintiff filed a post-trial motion, arguing that she was entitled to judgment as a matter of law and that the evidence did not support the jury’s verdict. That motion was denied, and the plaintiff appealed.

On appeal, the court affirmed the lower court’s denial of the plaintiff’s post-trial motion. The court explained that to succeed in her motion, the plaintiff had to establish that no reasonable juror could have found in favor of the resort. The court explained that meant establishing each of the four elements of a premises liability claim: duty, breach, causation, and damages.

The court held that the evidence supported the jury’s finding that the resort did not breach a duty it owed to the defendant. The court noted that, before the plaintiff’s injury, a resort employee approached the groom to advise against the rowdy behavior she was witnessing. In response, the groom shrugged off the employee’s advice and retrieved a bottle of soap, which he then spread across the dance floor, turning it into a slip and slide. It was shortly after this that the plaintiff crossed the floor and fell. The court explained that a reasonable jury could conclude that the resort fulfilled its duty by warning the groom of the dangers involved with dancing on the wet floor. The court acknowledged that the resort could have done more, but that its failure to do so did not necessarily result in a breach of a duty that was owed to the plaintiff.

Have You Been Injured in a Maine Slip-and-Fall Accident?

If you or someone you care about has recently suffered a serious injury after a Maine slip-and-fall accident, contact the dedicated injury lawyers at Peter Thompson & Associates. Attorney Thompson is a veteran personal injury lawyer who has personally recovered over $15 million on behalf of his clients over the course of his career. To learn more about how Attorney Thompson can help you pursue a claim for compensation based on your injuries, call 1-800-804-2004 to schedule a free consultation today.