As with any property owner, retail stores such as Target are responsible for maintaining the safety and cleanliness of their New York stores. This is so that when shoppers are in a Target store they are not injured from hazardous conditions, such as from a slip and fall accident which can easily occur if something slippery remains on the floor for any period of time, even a matter of a few minutes.
One woman suffered personal injuries in a slip-and-fall accident at a Target store back in 2009. She described the slippery substance as a clear liquid with only a small pinkish substance in the center. In fact, the mess was baby’s vomit as captured on video only seven minutes before the woman slipped in it and fell.
The injured victim suffered injuries to her wrist, knee and some of her fingers. She has since filed a personal injury lawsuit against Target claiming that as the business owner they were responsible for ensuring that their premises was free from hazardous conditions. She argues that seven minutes is simply too long to fail to clean the mess, or at least place a hazard sign alerting customers of the danger.
This case is currently in the midst of a jury trial. Though Target attempted to have the case dismissed based on the video evidence, claiming that seven minutes is simply too short a time to expect the store to respond to clean up the hazardous condition, the federal court judge disagreed. The judge ruled that this is a question that a jury should answer.
Perhaps Target will still consider settling this case before the jury has reached a verdict as to whether a business operator should be held responsible for premises liability during a seven-minute period.
Source: The Consumerist, “How Many Minutes Should Store Employees Get To Clean Up Baby Vomit?” Chris Morran, May 1, 2012