Richard Darnall Secures Summary Judgment on Behalf of Client, Burlington Coat Factory

Richard M. Darnall, Partner in Reger Rizzo & Darnall’s Mt. Laurel, New Jersey Office, secured summary judgment on behalf of his client, Burlington Coat Factory, in a slip and fall case brought before the New Jersey Appellate Court.

On Tuesday, January 26, 2016, the New Jersey Appellate Division released a written opinion in the matter of Troupe v. Burlington Coat Factory of New Jersey, LLC, affirming the decision of the trial court granting Burlington Coat Factory’s motion for summary judgment. This opinion comes after the New Jersey Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the mode-of-operation doctrine this past September in Prioleau v. Kentucky Fried Chicken Inc., which relieves a plaintiff from proving notice and provides for an inference of negligence when a dangerous condition stems from the defendant business’ mode of operation.

In Troupe v. Burlington Coat Factory of New Jersey, LLC, the Plaintiff was shopping in the children’s section of Burlington Coat Factory in Middlesex Mall when she allegedly slipped on a berry in the aisle, leading to back and knee injuries. Plaintiff’s attorneys contend that the store’s managers should have known that pieces of food could be left behind by children, and as such, a routine cleaning/sweeping schedule should have been implemented.

In this case, the court declined to expand the mode-of-operation rule as requested by Plaintiff’s counsel, having deemed the doctrine inapplicable to the plaintiff. The court relied primarily on Prioleau, in which the Supreme Court states that the rule should be limited to self-service areas of fast-food restaurants and grocery stores.