Donovan v. Wawa, Inc., 2017 Del. Super. LEXIS 516 (Del. Super. Ct. Oct. 17, 2017)

Expert testimony not necessary in a slip and fall suit involving discarded food; plaintiff entitled to discovery requests tailored to the particular incident, but not to information regarding criminal activity or intoxicated customers at the premises.

The plaintiff sued Wawa, claiming she sustained injuries after slipping on “hoagie guts” in the parking lot. In its motion for summary judgment, Wawa argued that, under Delaware law, it was allowed a reasonable opportunity to correct the condition after discovery or the time when it reasonably should have been discovered. Moreover, Wawa argued that the plaintiff’s failure to identify a liability expert was fatal to her case because proximate cause could not be established without an expert. The claims, Wawa asserted, were “[d]irected towards establishing the standard to which Defendant should be held which is Defendant’s own standard, rather than a generic or universal standard of retail safety and management set forth by a retained expert.” The court disagreed and held that hoagie guts were no different than water left on the floor. As for discovery requests, staffing guidelines, records from manager meetings, and incident or safety kits were discoverable as long as the plaintiff tailored them to the incident. Information about criminal activity and intoxicated persons on the premises were irrelevant and, therefore, not discoverable.


Case Law Alerts, 1st Quarter, January 2018

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