Cox, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 13-60454 (5th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff and her husband filed suit against Wal-Mart after she fell while entering through an automatic sliding door at a Wal-Mart store and sustained injuries. At issue on appeal was whether the district court erred when it granted summary judgment to Wal-Mart based on its conclusion that the defect in the door threshold was not unreasonably dangerous as a matter of law. The court concluded that the district court erred in extending Mississippi's so-called "categorical exemption" to defective thresholds; the fact that the alleged defective condition changed suddenly and without warning was sufficient for a reasonable jury to conclude that it created an unreasonable or unusually dangerous condition; and plaintiffs point to evidence in the record indicating that Wal-Mart may not inspect the doors to ensure they are functioning correctly and that despite an internal policy calling for daily inspections, the assistant manager of the store had no knowledge of that policy. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment to Wal-Mart and the dismissal of both plaintiffs' claims, remanding for further proceedings.