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Pullin v. Superior Court

California Court of Appeal
97 Cal. Rptr. 2d 447 (2000)


Facts

Lincoln Pullin (plaintiff) slipped and fell at a Vons Market that was operated by The Vons Companies, Inc. (Vons) (defendant). Pullin sued Vons, alleging a cause of action for negligence. Pullin retained Ralph Engdahl, a forensic safety engineer, as an expert witness on the issue of liability. Vons scheduled a deposition of Engdahl, and Pullin requested permission from Vons for Engdahl to perform tests on the floor at the Vons Market. Vons refused to give permission for the floor inspection and testing and scolded Pullin for not following the discovery rules governing requests for inspection. The day before his deposition, Engdahl visited the Vons Market where the slip-and-fall occurred while it was open for business. Engdahl used a small machine to conduct a test on the floor where Pullin had slipped. Engdahl also purchased an item and left the store approximately 15 minutes after he arrived. The test did not damage the floor, and no one asked Engdahl to leave. Based on this test, Engdahl was prepared to testify that, when wet, the floor’s co-efficient of friction was below acceptable safety standards. Vons learned about this test during the deposition the following day. Vons then filed a motion in limine asking the trial court to exclude Engdahl’s testimony from trial based on abuse of the discovery process. The trial court granted the motion, and Pullin appealed to the California Court of Appeal.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Vogel, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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