Russell v. East Alabama Medical Center

Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama

192 So. 3d 1170 | Aug. 21, 2015


ALABAMA COURT OF CIVIL APPEALS AFFIRMS ENTRY OF SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DENIAL OF SPOLIATION OF EVIDENCE IN ALABAMA SLIP AND FALL INJURY CLAIM

Plaintiff tripped and fell on a rug placed at the doorway of the East Alabama Medical Center. Plaintiff claimed the rug created a dangerous condition which lead to her personal injury. Plaintiff testified that while entering the East Alabama Medical Center, she did not notice any dangerous condition in the rug. Plaintiff’s family members testified that they did not see plaintiff fall, but that one of them noticed a lump in the rug. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of the defendant.

Prior to the trial court’s decision on defendant’s motion for summary judgment, plaintiff requested leave to argue a matter of spoliation of evidence. East Alabama Medical Center employed the use of several surveillance cameras around their premises, one of which was focused on the entryway where plaintiff claimed to have suffered her injury. Plaintiff did not request the recording data until 11 months after her alleged injury. East Alabama Medical Center offered testimony that in their regular course of business, surveillance data is deleted after approximately 40 days. The trial court determined that the defendant did not engage in spoliation of evidence. In affirming the trial court’s decision, The Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama noted that plaintiff failed to provide any authority that a property owner is required to preserve surveillance data simply because of an injury occurring on their property.

The Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama noted that plaintiff failed to provide any evidence that East Alabama Medical Center knew or should have known that the condition of the rug was in a dangerous condition. East Alabama Medical Center provided evidence that they did not know about the condition of the rug. Citing prior case law, and because plaintiff failed to provide any substantial evidence that the defendant knew or should have known about a dangerous condition with the rug, The Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama affirmed the trial court’s rulings.

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