Costco Case Study

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TO: Supervising Attorney
FROM: Melissa J. Leonard, Paralegal
DATE: December 17, 2017

RE: McDonald v. Costco

Did Costco breach its duty of care to customer, Renee McDonald, by failing to adequately warn of water on the floor in an area which had been recently mopped, becoming liable for negligence in Defendant’s slip and fall injuries?

No. Costco did not breach its duty of care to Defendant, and would most likely be entitled to summary judgment as the undisputed facts are legally insufficient to establish a prima facie case of Negligence.

Renee McDonald (“Plaintiff”) allegedly sustained personal injuries on October 8, 2015 while shopping at a store owned and operated by Costco (“Defendant”) in Brooklyn Park, Maryland. According to the plaintiff, while walking through the store, she tripped on mop water which caused her to fall to the ground and suffer “severe bodily injuries.” The Plaintiff claims that her fall was caused by the mop water. The mopped area had been secured with a yellow caution sign that warned customers of the wet floor. At the time of the Plaintiff’s fall, however, the sign had fallen down and was lying on the floor. Plaintiff alleges that the store did not have proper signage to warn of the hazardous condition.
Plaintiff further asserts that the Defendant breached its duty of care to her by: (1) “failing to fix a hazardous condition within a reasonable time;” (2) “failing to adequately warn plaintiff of a hazardous condition;” and (3) “otherwise failing to exercise reasonable and due care under the circumstances.” The Plaintiff is seeking compensatory damages in the amount of two hundred thousand dollars, plus interest and costs.

To maintain an action in negligence, the Plaintiff must assert that the defendant was under a duty to protect the plaintiff from injury, that the defendant breached that duty, that the plaintiff suffered actual injury or loss, and that the loss or injury proximately resulted from the defendant's breach of the duty. Further, in slip and fall claims in Maryland, the Plaintiff must prove that the accident was directly caused by a hazard on the premises of the store; the owner either created

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