WCM New Jersey Office Partner Denise Ricci was quoted in the October 23, 2013 issue of the New Jersey Law Journal on the implications of the Appellate Division’s decision in the case of Arroyo v. Durling Realty. In the case, the plaintiff slipped and fell on a phone card outside of a Quick Check store. She argued that the “mode of operation” rule should apply because the Quick Check sold phone cards in a self serve rack near the cashier. In New Jersey, the “mode of operation rule” reduces the plaintiff’s burden of proof if the plaintiff can establish a close interplay between the cause of the accident and the business’s operation. Here, the plaintiff claimed that the phone card was apparently dropped just outside of the store. Specifically, she claimed that she should not have to prove notice since the store should have anticipated that a customer would discard or drop such a card. The Appellate Division held that mode of operation did not apply and that nexus of the card on the ground to the business was too attenuated to justify application of this doctrine.
The NJLJ asked WCM Partner Denise Ricci to comment on the case. Denise was cited as saying that the Appellate Division was probably motivated to publish the opinion to make clear there must be a tie between how a business operates and the danger that allegedly caused the fall, because plaintiffs keep coming up with “creative theories” for applying the doctrine.
For more information about the Arroyo case, please contact Denise at firstname.lastname@example.org.