There is a Duty, but is There a Breach? Pennsylvania Court Dodges the Real Question.

It seems obvious that store owners owe a duty to those that enter their stores.  The real question in every case is whether the store owner breached that duty.

In Meduri v. Aldi, the plaintiff was helping her handicapped husband into a store when she tripped and fell in a marked handicapped zone due to a crack and elevation differential.  Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that as a “business invitee,” the store owed her a duty of care and breached that duty due to “irregularities” in the handicapped zone.  The court held that the store owed plaintiff a duty of care, but held that it was an issue of fact as to whether the store breached the duty since it was not clear whether the “irregularities” were “trivial.”

This decision makes clear that more often than not, courts will shy away from ruling on a “trivial defect.”  Ultimately, it will likely be up to a jury to decide, and there is likely no easy way out early on.

Thanks to Colleen Hayes for her contribution to this post.