Where a slip-and-fall plaintiff fails to adequately demonstrate how prior occurrences are substantially similar, evidence of prior occurrences is irrelevant and inadmissible.
Plaintiff fell after stepping in a hole in the parking lot of a store owned by defendant. During trial, plaintiff offered evidence of instances at other of defendant's stores involving falls due to the condition of the pavement in those stores' parking lots. Trial court excluded this evidence on the basis that its probative value was outweighed by potential for prejudice. The court awarded plaintiff damages in the amount of $ 3,600, after the jury found the defendant to be 60 percent negligent and plaintiff 40 percent negligent and awarded damages in the amount of $ 6,000. The plaintiff appealed trial court's judgment, contending that trial court erred in refusing to allow her to present evidence of similar falls occurring at other of defendant's stores and that the amount of damages awarded was inadequate.
Did the trial court err in refusing to allow the plaintiff to present evidence of similar falls?
The court affirmed trial court's judgment, concluding that plaintiff failed to show how falls at other locations were substantially similar to her fall and that the damages awarded by jury were supported by the record. The report of falls portrayed in plaintiff's exhibit occurred at different locations, under a wide variety of circumstances.