Laura Martino obtained a directed verdict on behalf of her client, Menards, Inc., in a premises liability action in the Northern District of Iowa. The case arose from a premises liability claim in which the plaintiff alleged that she was injured when a stack of boxes fell on her foot while she was shopping at a Menards’ store.
Following the close of the plaintiff’s case, Menards’ moved for a directed verdict, asserting that the plaintiff’s evidence failed to prove the necessary elements of a premises liability claim. The Northern District of Iowa granted Menards’ motion for a directed verdict, finding that the plaintiff failed to establish that Menards was negligent in the manner in which it stacked the subject boxes. Specifically, the court found that the plaintiff failed to present any evidence that a reasonably careful person would not stack boxes in the manner the plaintiff claimed the boxes were stacked.
In addition, the court found that even if the plaintiff had presented evidence that the boxes were stacked in a negligent manner, she failed to present evidence that Menards knew or should have known the boxes were stacked in a dangerous manner such that they posed an unreasonable risk of injury to another person. The court noted that Menards’ employees did not have exclusive control over the condition of the boxes since the plaintiff admitted that customers sometimes move items on the shelves and the store had been open for five hours.
The court also held that due to the plaintiff’s lack of evidence, even if the plaintiff were able to prove all the elements of a premises liability claim, she would not be entitled to damages for past or future medical expenses, past lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, past or future loss of function, or future pain and suffering.
Since the plaintiff failed to present evidence to establish the elements of a premises liability claim, the court granted Menards’ motion for a directed verdict and dismissed the plaintiff’s claims.
Pozeck v. Menards, Inc., United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, Case No. 1:20-cv-00077