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Sunday, August 18, 2019

District court denies motions in Save-A-Lot slip and fall suit

By Olivia Olsen | Sep 6, 2017

BENTON – U.S. District Judge Phil Gilbert ruled to dismiss two motions in a slip-and-fall case involving a grocery store.

Upon review of a motion to dismiss filed by the defendant Save-A-Lot Food Stores LTD and one to remand made by the plaintiff, Eddie Hobson, both were denied. 

The court's memorandum and order only briefly discusses the suit’s background, stating that Hobson slipped on standing water in the frozen foods section of a St. Louis Save-A-Lot Store location and is seeking damages. Hobson’s claim was based on the alleged negligence of the store’s employees to properly inspect and clean floor spills.

Save-A-Lot’s petition argued that the location Hobson allegedly slipped in was actually owned by Moran Foods LLC and that the negligence was due to their employees rather than Save-A-Lot’s, stating that suing Save-A-Lot for the alleged actions of Moran Foods would “pierce the corporate veil.” In response, the district court determined that regardless of merit, the motion was rendered moot by the plaintiff’s amended complaint, which also named Moran Foods in the suit.

In regards to the plaintiff’s motion to remand the suit back to an Illinois state court, Gilbert determined that the amount in controversy negated the petition.

Hobson’s original listed amount was for a minimum of $100,000 in damages. As referenced in the order, a federal court has jurisdiction over disputes in which the parties are in different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. The order also informs that if the amount is altered after removal for an adjustment of less than $75,000, it does not change the federal court’s jurisdiction as it was granted at the time of removal.

After review, it was determined that both motions should be denied. The order was entered in on Aug. 25.

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U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois