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PREMISES LIABILITY: Appellate Court reverses plaintiff’s verdict where plaintiff did not prove how two boxes fell off top shelf

The Appellate Court reversed a judgment in favor of plaintiff, holding that plaintiff failed to prove her premises liability case under either a mode of operation or the affirmative act rule. The plaintiff brought a premises liability claim after she was struck in the head and right shoulder by two empty boxes that fell off the top shelf.  The Court reasoned there was no evidence that the plaintiff’s alleged injuries occurred within a “limited zone of risk” as required by the mode of operation rule.  The Court further reasoned there was no evidence that defendant’s employees engaged in any affirmative conduct that led to the display boxes falling on the plaintiff.  Although two employees were in the adjacent aisle restocking shelves, the uncontradicted evidence presented at trial was that neither employee touched the top shelf and plaintiff did not present any evidence as to how the boxes fell.  Alicia Hill v. OSJ of Bloomfield, LLC, — A.3d — (Sept. 15, 2020)