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Nisivoccia v. Glass Gardens, Inc.
Supreme Court of New Jersey
818 A.2d 314 (2003)
Katherine Nisivoccia, and her husband Raymond, (plaintiffs) filed suit against Glass Gardens, Inc., doing business as Shop-Rite or Rockaway (Shop-Rite) (defendant), after she stepped on a grape with the heel of her right shoe, slipped, and fell inside the grocery store near the checkout aisles. After she had fallen, Nisivoccia noticed several other grapes within a three-foot diameter around her. At trial, Shop-Rite presented two store employees who worked on the day of the incident. A Shop-Rite customer service clerk testified that he completed an incident report, but failed to provide any detailed description of the accident area. The store’s assistant manager testified that the grapes arrive from the wholesaler in clear plastic bags that are open at the top and which are then placed in the produce area for purchase by customers. Consequently, the assistant manager acknowledged that grapes sometimes fall out of the bags and onto the floor near the produce area or the checkout aisle. At the close of all the evidence, Nisivoccia was denied an inference of negligence by the trial court. Instead, the trial court granted Shop-Rite a directed no-cause verdict because Nisivoccia failed to produce any evidence of the store’s actual or constructive notice of a dangerous condition. Nisivoccia appealed. The appellate division affirmed the judgment of the trial court. The Supreme Court of New Jersey granted certiorari to review.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (LaVecchia, J.)
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