Hidalgo v. Pep Boys
This lawsuit was filed after Plaintiff slipped and fell on a seasonal display sign that had fallen off of a display rack at the Pep Boys. The store presented surveillance video which showed that the sign fell to the ground five minutes before Plaintiff’s incident. About two minutes after the sign fell, a store employee and Plaintiff walked by the sign but neither saw it as their view was obstructed by the display rack. There were also two other customers who walked around the sign during that time. Just before the incident, Plaintiff had an unobstructed view of the sign but wasn’t paying attention and didn’t see it.
Plaintiff’s expert testified that (i) the store was negligent for hanging the sign with 2 clips and double-sided tape rather than using zip ties; and (ii) Plaintiff had no duty to watch where she was walking as a customer has a right to expect that the aisles are free from any debris. The expert also testified that the store’s inspection policy was lacking because there should have been documented inspections at least every hour despite the fact that the sign was only on the ground for just over five minutes.
Plaintiff claimed injuries to her neck, low back and bilateral knees and had undergone a knee surgery to her left knee, despite having landed on her right knee in the incident.
Plaintiff demanded $800,000, but the jury found 12-0 that Pep Boys was not negligent. The jury determined that the Pep Boys employee did not see the sign and that everything Pep Boys did was reasonable, particularly since this was the first sign to have ever fallen and this store had not had any slip and fall incidents in the past.