Brookshire Brothers v. Aldridge

438 S.W.3d 9 (2014)

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Brookshire Brothers v. Aldridge

Texas Supreme Court
438 S.W.3d 9 (2014)

RW

Facts

Jerry Aldridge (plaintiff) slipped and fell in a Brookshire Brothers, Ltd. (store) (defendant) grocery store. The store’s surveillance camera captured the incident on videotape. Store policy was to retain videotape images for 30 days and then reuse the videotape by taping over old images. Months later, Aldridge sued the store for negligence. In discovery, Aldridge’s lawyer requested several hours’ worth of surveillance-camera videotape from the day Aldridge fell. By then, however, the store had taped over all but the eight minutes of footage that covered Aldridge’s fall and what transpired immediately before and after the incident. At trial, the trial judge instructed the jurors that if they believed that the store knew or reasonably should have known that the lost footage might have contained images relevant to the case, and that the store had not satisfactorily explained the nonpreservation of those images, the jurors could infer that the evidence would have been unfavorable to the store. The jury returned its verdict for Aldridge. On appeal, the intermediate appellate court upheld the judge’s adverse-inference instruction and affirmed the jury’s verdict. The store appealed to the Texas Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lehrmann, J.)

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