The Claimant was injured when she slipped and fell while shopping at Safeway (Charlie v. Canada Safeway Limited, 2011 BCCA 202) in Duncan, BC. She brought a lawsuit against Safeway claiming that it failed to fulfill its duty to keep the premises reasonably safe. This was an appeal of a decision of a Supreme Court Judge to the British Columbia Court of Appeal.
The claimant was shopping for groceries at Safeway on the date of the accident. As she approached one of the checkouts, she proceeded past a display of cut flowers, where she slipped and fell. In the course of falling she knocked over one or more of the buckets that held the flowers, so there was a considerable amount of water on the floor after she fell. There was, however, no direct evidence that there was water on the floor prior to the claimant’s fall.
The trial judge found that the claimant failed to establish that her fall was due to a hazardous condition of the premises. He also determined that the Safeway had taken reasonable care to see that the premises were safe.
The injury claimant appealed alleging that the trial judge was wrong in failing to find that her fall was caused by the condition of the premises, and also in finding that Safeway had taken reasonable care to ensure that the premises were reasonably safe.
The judge found that the evidence established that there was a reasonable system in place to inspect, clean and identify problem areas or conditions in the store, and that the system had been followed. He found that the area in which the claimant fell had been examined and cleaned nine minutes before. The law in BC protects large retailers if they set up a reasonable system for safety maintenance and inspection.
The Court of Appeal was of the opinion that the evidence in this case did not establish that the flower display posed any particular danger and that the system in place to deal with slipping hazards was an adequate one that complied with the standard of care prescribed by s. 3(1) of the Occupiers Liability Act.
The Court dismissed the appeal. Posted by Mr. Renn A. Holness