United States District Court, D. Nevada
MIRANDA M. DU CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a slip-and-fall case. Defendant Target Corporation moves for
summary judgment on Plaintiff Maria Salazar's claims for
negligence and negligent hiring, training and supervision
(ECF No. 1-1) (“Motion”). (ECF No.
The material issue before the Court is whether Defendant had
constructive notice of the spill on its floor. The Court
concludes that this issue must be decided by a jury.
Therefore, the Court will deny Defendant's Motion.
following facts are undisputed.
incident arose in September 2016, while Plaintiff was
shopping at the Target store located at 3550 S. Rainbow
Blvd., Las Vegas, NV (“Store”). (ECF No. 1-1 at
2.) While walking in the frozen foods area of the Store,
Plaintiff slipped on water and fell. (ECF No. 34-1 at 2, 12,
38.) Plaintiff testified during her deposition that she did
not know where the water came from or how long it had been on
the floor. (ECF No. 33-1 at 6.) The Store's manager at
the time, Catherine Macke, also testified that after the
incident, she did not inquire about the floor being inspected
and did not know how long the spill had been on the floor.
(ECF No. 34-1 at 13-14.) Macke also stated that the spill was
about the size of a 10 by 10 (or 12 by 12) inch tile and
marked the incident as occurring approximately in the middle
of the aisle. (Id. at 12-13, 71 (Salazar 000245).)
Macke was unclear as to whether she assumed that Plaintiff
had spilled the water on the floor, Macke did not investigate
further to determine any other causes. (Id. at
13-14.) Plaintiff disputes that she or those with her spilled
the water. (Id. at 35-37.)
are no available video surveillance or photos related to the
incident. (See ECF No. 34-1 at 11, 53 (not
indicating the existence of any such evidence), 57.)
Additionally, Target's Rule 30(b)(6) witness and the
Store's director, Joseph Rudulph, testified that he had
no information regarding how the floors are inspected by
employees. (ECF No. 34-2 at 3, 14, 19.) Nor was he aware of
any standards-aside from monthly maintenance-in place
regarding how often employees are supposed to
inspect the floors to prevent slip-and-fall incidents.
(Id. at 18-19.) Rudulph testified that as a matter
of “general service” if employees see an issue
they should address it. (Id. at 19.)
purpose of summary judgment is to avoid unnecessary trials
when there is no dispute as to the facts before the
court.” Nw. Motorcycle Ass'n v. U.S. Dep't
of Agric., 18 F.3d 1468, 1471 (9th Cir. 1994). Summary
judgment is appropriate when the pleadings, the discovery and
disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits “show
that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and
that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter
of law.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322 (1986). An issue is “genuine” if there
is a sufficient evidentiary basis on which a reasonable
fact-finder could find for the nonmoving party and a dispute
is “material” if it could affect the outcome of
the suit under the governing law. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
moving party bears the burden of showing that there are no
genuine issues of material fact. Zoslaw v. MCA Distrib.
Corp., 693 F.2d 870, 883 (9th Cir. 1982). Once the
moving party satisfies Rule 56's requirements, the burden
shifts to the party resisting the motion to “set forth
specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256. The
nonmoving party “may not rely on denials in the
pleadings but must produce specific evidence, through
affidavits or admissible discovery material, to show that the
dispute exists, ” Bhan v. NME Hosps., Inc.,
929 F.2d 1404, 1409 (9th Cir. 1991), and “must do more
than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to
the material facts.” Orr v. Bank of Am., NT &
SA, 285 F.3d 764, 783 (9th Cir. 2002) (quoting
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)). “The mere existence of a
scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's
position will be insufficient.” Anderson, 477
U.S. at 252. Moreover, a court views all facts and draws all
inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving
party. Kaiser Cement Corp. v. Fischbach & Moore,
Inc., 793 F.2d 1100, 1103 (9th Cir. 1986).
Nevada law, “a business owes its patrons a duty to keep
the premises in a reasonably safe condition for use.”
Sprague v. Lucky Stores, Inc., 849 P.2d 320, 322
(Nev. 1993) (citing Asmussen v. New Golden Hotel
Co., 392 P.2d 49, 49 (1964)). However, that an incident
occurred resulting in injury is not sufficient to establish
liability. Gunlock v. New Frontier Hotel, 370 P.2d
682, 684 (1962), abrogated on other grounds by Foster v.
Costco Wholesale Corp., 291 P.3d 150, 156 (Nev. 2012).
The plaintiff must demonstrate negligence. Id.
“Where a foreign substance on the floor causes a patron
to slip and fall, and the business owner or one of its agents
caused the substance to be on the floor, liability will lie,
as a foreign substance on the floor is usually not consistent
with the standard of ordinary care.” Sprague,
849 P.2d at 322 (citations omitted). In cases where the
foreign substance results from the actions of “persons
other than the business or its employees, liability will lie
only if the business had actual or constructive notice of the
condition and failed to remedy it.” Id. at
322-23. (citations omitted). Here, Defendant challenges only
the existence of notice and Plaintiff specifically contends
only that Defendant had constructive notice of the
spill. (ECF No. 33 at 4-7; ECF No. 34 at 8-13.) Accordingly,
the Court addresses solely the issue of constructive notice.
constructive notice exists is generally a question of fact
for a jury to decide. Id. at 323. Defendant argues
that the Court should grant summary judgment in its favor
because Plaintiff lacks sufficient evidence that Defendant
(or its employees) had constructive notice of the spill. (ECF
No. 33 at 6-7.) Defendant's position is chiefly that
Plaintiff needs to show that the water had been on the floor
long enough to be a continuous condition to establish
constructive notice and that Plaintiff's deposition
testimony is insufficient to do so. (Id. (pointing
to Spraque as a case where constructive notice was
found based on the existence of continual debris on the
floor).) Plaintiff argues that constructive notice may be
based on whether the business exercised its duty of
reasonable care to its patrons by taking appropriate steps
under the circumstances. (ECF No. 34 at 8-10 (citing
Foster, 291 P.3d at 156 ...