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Judge Rules in Favor of Safeway Inc. When Dancer Claims Injured Knee From In-Store Puddle Slip

On February 12, 2006 plaintiff Andrea Moody, a twenty-one-year-old professional dancer, reportedly slipped and fell on a two-inch-wide puddle of water near a freezer case in Safeway’s store lobby in Los Gatos.

Moody sued Safeway Inc. for premises liability (negligence, maintenance, dangerous condition and creating a slipping hazard). Moody claimed the clogged drain or freezer leak caused the water on the floor.

Safeway contended there was no evidence to support how the water got on the floor. Defense counsel contended it didn’t know nor should they have known that there was water on the floor. The area had been inspected three times in the fifteen minutes prior to the incident.

On July 25th, Moody received arthroscopic surgery to treat a meniscal tear and a partial anterior cruciate ligament tear. The plaintiff claimed she was still unable to execute the same dance maneuvers as she could before the injury. Moody reported that her knee prevented her from performing which affected the longevity of career, leaving her too old if she fully recovered in a few years.

Moody asked the jury for $27,000 in past medical expenses, $19,000 in lost earnings and $60,000 – $100,000 in future lost earnings.
Safeway responded that Moody did not sustain any serious injuries and that any injuries sustained were resolved within a couple weeks. The defense also contended that Moody was dancing professionally and even earned a solo part for one production just three months after the incident. The defense also argued that Moody’s knee swelled up during a rehearsal four-to-five months after the incident and Moody went to a Chiropractor and claimed on an intake form that she injured her knee dancing.

Moody demanded $65,000. Safeway offered Moody $7,500. The jury rendered a defense verdict .

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