H. E. Butt Grocery Co. v. Resendez

988 S.W.2d 218 (Tex. 1999)



As a matter of law, the mere fact that a store has a customer sampling display cannot, without more, be evidence of a condition on the premises that poses an unreasonable risk of harm.


Plaintiff customer slipped and fell near a grape display at defendant grocery store. Plaintiff sued defendant for negligence. A jury found for plaintiff, and the court of appeals affirmed. Defendant sought review. The court granted defendant grocery store's petition for review and reversed the judgment of the appellate court. 


Did plaintiff present any evidence that the grape display created an unreasonable risk for customers?




The court found the customer sampling bowl was recessed below the table's surface and had a railing around its edges, the floor was a non-skid surface, floor mats were around the display tables, and warning cones were near the displays. The court stated the mere fact a store had a sampling display could not be evidence of a condition on the premises that posed an unreasonable risk of harm. Plaintiff had the burden to prove defendant had actual or constructive knowledge of a condition on the premises, the condition posed an unreasonable risk of harm, defendant did not exercise reasonable care to reduce or to eliminate the risk, and defendant's failure to use such care proximately caused her injuries. Plaintiff claimed the sampling display resulted in an unreasonable risk of harm. However, plaintiff presented no evidence the display created an unreasonable risk of customers falling on grapes.

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