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Dixon v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
330 F.3d 311 (5th Cir. 2003)


Facts

In July 1996, Billie F. Dixon (plaintiff) tripped and fell over a piece of plastic binding in a store owned by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Wal-Mart) (defendant). In July 1998, Dixon brought suit against Wal-Mart, alleging that Wal-Mart negligently failed to maintain the premises. Dixon alleged that Wal-Mart had constructive notice of an unreasonable risk of harm based on: (1) the proximity of the plastic to employees at the checkout counters and (2) the length of time the plastic remained on the floor. Dixon alleged that the plastic had been dropped by magazine and newspaper suppliers during their routine restocking eight hours earlier. At trial, Wal-Mart testified that its employees were trained to routinely monitor the floors and pick up debris, and that an inspection of the floor had occurred five minutes before Dixon’s fall. Wal-Mart moved for judgment as a matter of law at the close of Dixon’s case and before the case was submitted to the jury. The district court denied both motions. The jury found in favor of Dixon. Wal-Mart renewed its motion for judgment as a matter of law. The district court denied the motion. Wal-Mart appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Wiener, J.)

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Dissent (Dennis, J.)

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