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Delaware Supreme Court overturns Delaware Superior Court’s grant of summary judgment to defendants on Plaintiffs’ personal injury claim arising from a slip and fall in a Stanton Delaware supermarket.

On July 14, 2008, in the case of Hazel v. Delaware Supermarkets, Inc, Edy’s Grand Ice Cream and Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Holdings, Inc., the Delaware Supreme Court in a 3 to 2 decision overturned the Delaware Superior Courts grant of Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment. The Delaware Supreme Court reiterated its prior holding in Howard v. Food Fair Stores, New Castle, Inc., 201 A.2d 638 (Del. 1964) concerning Plaintiff’s burden of proving negligence for a slip and fall upon a shopkeeper for the shopkeeper’s breach of its “duty to keep the store premises in a reasonably safe condition for the use of the customers.” To prove a breach of this duty, the Court stated, “the plaintiff must show that

  1. (1) there was an unsafe condition in the defendant’s store
  2. (2) which caused the injuries complained of, and
  3. (3) of which the storekeeper had actual notice or which could have been discovered by such reasonable inspection as other reasonably prudent storekeepers would regard as necessary'”.

The Delaware Supreme Court reversed the Delaware Superior Court’s grant of summary judgment stating, “Viewing the evidence and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party (here, Hazel), we conclude that Hazel met her burden of making a prima facie showing of negligence.”

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