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Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Gonzalez

Supreme Court of Texas
968 S.W.2d 934 (1998)


Facts

While shopping in a Wal-Mart store with her daughter and two granddaughters, Flora Gonzalez (plaintiff) slipped and fell on some cooked macaroni salad near the cafeteria and sustained injuries to her back, shoulder, and knee. Gonzalez filed suit against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (defendant) seeking damages. At trial, Gonzalez argued that Wal-Mart was negligent in failing to maintain a clean aisle and that the store’s employees should have known that the spilled macaroni salad might cause a shopper to slip and fall. In support of her claim, Gonzalez testified that the macaroni salad appeared to have been significantly contaminated with dirt. Gonzalez’s daughter testified that the macaroni had shopping cart marks and footprints on it and appeared to have been on the floor for a while. No other testimony or evidence was provided to support Gonzalez’s claim. The jury held for Gonzalez and awarded her $100,000 in damages. Wal-Mart appealed. The court of appeals affirmed the judgment, but reduced Gonzalez’s damages to $96,700. The Supreme Court of Texas granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law

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Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question.

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Holding and Reasoning (Gonzalez, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • 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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