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Torts1

Copyright © 2007, Gerald Bamberger

 

Patricia was shopping for some school supplies in a Fal-Mart store. She asked to use the restroom, and was told that the store had no restrooms for customers. She then spoke to the manager, who allowed her to use the employees’ restroom.

As Patricia was about to enter the single-user restroom, another customer left the restroom, with a screaming child in tow. (It was later established that Fal-Mart would regularly allow customers to use the employee restrooms, provided they asked the manager.) Patricia entered the restroom and immediately slipped on a puddle of water, injuring herself.

Patricia sues Fal-Mart for negligence in a jurisdiction where the effect of res ipsa loquitur is to create a rebuttable presumption, rather than a permitted inference, of breach. Upon cross-motions for summary judgment, the most likely outcome is

(a)     Patricia’s motion will be granted, because, under these facts, Patricia was an invitee even though she was in an employees’ restroom.
(b)     Patricia’s motion will be granted, because the burden of production shifted to Fal-Mart on the issue of breach; but Fal-Mart has failed to meet this burden.
(c)     Fal-Mart’s motion will be granted, because Patricia was merely a licensee in Fal-Mart’s employee restroom.
(d)     Fal-Mart’s motion will be granted, because Patricia has not made out a prima facie case of negligence.

To see Professor Bamberger explain the answer in detail click here

 

 



 


 
 
     

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