Moorehead v. TriMet

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Tort Law
  • Date Filed: 08-19-2015
  • Case #: A151775
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Nakamoto, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Egan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

In a slip and fall negligence case, absent proof of an owner’s knowledge of a foreign substance on a floor, a plaintiff invitee’s action will fail. Without such proof, whether or not the foreign substance created an unreasonable risk of harm is not relevant.

Plaintiff appeals a judgment in which a trial court held that TriMet was not negligent in a slip and fall injury that occurred on a MAX train. The event occurred on a rainy evening in Portland. The plaintiff’s negligence theory was that TriMet was required to keep foreign substances off the floor, warn passengers if it was slippery, and block off floor that was wet. Alternatively, TriMet claimed that it had no duty to act because it had installed special flooring which made the train reasonable safe and that the plaintiff did not exercise reasonable care to avoid harm. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the lower court erred in instructing the jury regarding TriMet’s standard of care. Plaintiff believed that the water on the floor was inherently unreasonably dangerous and warranted a jury instruction reflecting as much whereas TriMet believed that whether the water was unreasonably dangerous was a question for the jury and something which must be proven by the plaintiff. The Court held that a foreign substance on a floor is not, as a matter of law, automatically an unreasonably dangerous condition which runs afoul of a premises owner’s duty to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition for invitees. Affirmed.

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