Joye v. Great Atl. & Pac. Tea Co.

405 F.2d 464 (4th Cir. 1968)



A storekeeper is not an insurer of his customers' safety but owes them a duty of ordinary care in keeping the aisles and passageways in a reasonably safe condition.


Plaintiff customer slipped and fell on a banana peel within the premises of defendant supermarket. He was attempting to purchase some oysters, but fell and injured his back due to stepping on the peel. Litigation ensued after the parties failed to settle and plaintiff was awarded a sizeable jury verdict under his claim of negligence. Defendant challenged this verdict, asserting that it fulfilled its duty to keep the aisles in a reasonably safe condition. The Court of Appeals reversed. 


 Did plaintiff provide sufficient evidence to show that the defendant was liable for the injury?




Plaintiff failed to meet its burden showing that defendant had constructive notice that the banana peal was on the floor. In order for plaintiff to recover, the burden was upon him to show that the banana had been on the floor long enough to charge A & P with constructive notice of its presence. In this case, the plaintiff offered no direct evidence below as to how long the banana had been in the floor before the accident, thus, the judgment was reversed with instructions for the lower court to enter a decision in favor of the defendant.

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