Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a personal injury lawsuit discussing an essential aspect of New Mexico premises liability cases. The case required the court to determine whether the plaintiff established that the defendant grocery store owed him a duty of care. Finding that the store did not owe the plaintiff a duty of care in this particular situation, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims.
The Facts of the Case
According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was seriously injured as he attempted to obtain a shopping cart from a corral of carts near the entrance of the defendant grocery store. The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against the store, claiming that the store’s greeter was negligent in that he failed to provide a staged shopping cart for the plaintiff’s use.
In support of his claim, the plaintiff cited the store’s standard operating procedures, which stated that when a store greeter had the opportunity, he should stage three or four shopping carts at the end of a line by separating them from each other and loosely nesting them. The store responded that the staging of shopping carts was a secondary duty of a store greeter, whose primary purpose was to greet all customers and assist them as needed.