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Blanchard v. New Hotel Monteleone, LLC.

hotel lobby

Court: Louisiana Supreme Court

Docket: 2021-CC-00347

Opinion Date: December 10, 2021

Judge: Per Curiam

Areas of Law: Civil Procedure, Personal Injury, Real Estate & Property Law

This case law update is brought to you by Freeway Law auto accident and personal injury lawyers in Orange County. The following is not one of our cases, but it is of some significance, and we thought we should share it with our readers for informational purposes. The information above is for informational purposes only and not to be construed as legal advice.

Plaintiff Cindy Planchard, filed suit against the defendant, the New Hotel Monteleone, LLC. Plaintiff alleged that as she crossed the lobby of the defendant’s hotel, she slipped on a foreign substance on the marble floor and fell, sustaining an injury. After discovery, the defendant moved for summary judgment, relying on a surveillance video of the accident. The video showed a hotel employee dry mopping the lobby area at 8:36 p.m., approximately three minutes before the plaintiff’s accident. Two “wet floor” signs are in place in the area. At 8:37 p.m., approximately one minute before the plaintiff’s fall, two more “wet floor” signs were added to the area, and an employee continued to dry mop the area. Plaintiff was then seen to fall at 8:38 p.m. Defendant also submitted plaintiff’s deposition testimony. In her deposition, the plaintiff acknowledged seeing the signs. Plaintiff also testified she “had to walk around” the signs because there “was no other path to the front door.” As a result, the plaintiff stated she “walked to the side of the signs to get to the front door.” Plaintiff opposed the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. Relying on her deposition testimony, the plaintiff did not dispute that she saw the signs but asserted that she thought they were “chalkboard” and did not read them. Plaintiff introduced pictures of the signs showing they did not have the traditional bright orange or yellow appearance but were made of wood and brass. The district court denied the hotel’s motion, concluding there were questions of fact concerning the “reasonableness on the part of the defendant” based on the visibility of the signs. The Louisiana Supreme Court reversed, finding that the undisputed evidence established plaintiff saw the warning signs in the area prior to her fall. “Any failure of a plaintiff to read these signs was a product of her own inattentiveness and not a result of the defendant’s failure to take reasonable precautions.”

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