Business May Have To Clean Up Spill Within Three Minutes

If you slip and fall on a puddle in a store, you may be able to sue the store for not cleaning it up. If the store knew, or should have known, that it was there, you may have a case. This raises the question: How quickly must a store realize that someone has spilled something and clean up the mess? Possibly as little as three minutes, according to Tennessee Court of Appeals. In this case, a customer at a Hardee’s restaurant slipped and injured himself on a puddle on the floor. A review of the store’s security video showed that the liquid had been there for three minutes and 11 seconds before the man fell. Although that is not a very long time, the puddle was less than 20 feet from the service counter where employees were serving customers. Witnesses said it could easily be seen by employees behind the counter. Hardee’s argued that it was unfair to expect employees to clean up a spill in three minutes. However, the court disagreed and said a jury should decide at trial whether the Hardee’s employees had acted reasonably in the situation.


About John Fagan

John is a Jacksonville native who grew up on the First Coast. He graduated from Bishop Kenny High School in 1975 and went to college at Florida State University where he completed a 4-year program in 3 years. John graduated from the Florida State University College of Business in 1978 and went straight into Florida State University College of Law. While in law school, John earned a position on the prestigious Law Review Board serving as its Business Editor. As a law student, John studied in the Oxford program. He also interned with the Florida Legislature working in the Florida House of Representatives Criminal Justice Committee. John was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1981. John began his legal career as a law school intern in the State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville in 1981. After his internship, legendary State Attorney Ed Austin hired John as a full-time Assistant State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit (Clay, Duval, and Nassau Counties). As a prosecutor, John tried jury and non-jury trial on charges ranging from DUI to Murder. In 1983, John moved from the State Attorney's Office to begin his career in private practice. He has practiced law for 30 years on the First Coast. For the last 20 years, John and his family have made Clay County their home. John limits his practice to personal injury and disability cases. While there are many fine attorneys in Clay County, John is one of only a few Clay County attorneys who limit their practice to personal injury and disability cases. John takes pride in helping clients resolve injury claims in ways that avoid the stress, uncertainty, and the expense of unnecessary litigation. Professional Activities John is the past President of the Clay County Bar Association and has served on the Board of the Clay County Bar Association from 2009-2013. He is an active member of the Florida Bar, and the Federal Bar of the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. He is also a member of the American Association of Justice, the Florida Association of Justice, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives, and the National Organization of Veterans' Advocates. Service to the Community John is involved in the Clay County Community serving as a member and Director of the Rotary Club of Orange Park, of the Clay County Bar Association, and the Putnam County Bar Association.
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