Renner v. Retzer Resources, Inc.Annotate this Case
This case arose from a trip-and-fall at a McDonald's in Winona, Mississippi: seventy-six-year-old John Renner, his wife, and two other family members stopped at a McDonald’s in Winona around 9:30 a.m. After he received his order, Renner set his food down at a table and walked to the condiment station. Before returning to his table, he thought one of the McDonald’s employees spoke to him. Renner turned and faced the counter before realizing the employee was speaking to another customer. As Renner turned back around to return to his table, his left foot struck a protruding leg of a highchair, causing him to fall and suffer injury to his face and left shoulder. After the fall, Renner heard one of the McDonald’s employees ask another what the highchair was doing there, and to move it. Two and a half years later, Renner filed suit against McDonald’s; Retzer Resources, Inc., the owner and operator of the Winona McDonald’s; and Velencia Hubbard, the manager of the Winona McDonald’s. During discovery, the defendants claimed that video footage of the fall no longer existed. The defendants, Hubbard and Retzer, moved for summary judgment, arguing that Renner could not demonstrate the existence of any genuine issue of material fact that: (1) the highchair was a dangerous condition; (2) any alleged danger was hidden; or (3) defendants had actual or constructive knowledge of the alleged dangerous condition. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants. Renner appealed, arguing summary judgment was not proper because: (1) he established each element of a premises-liability claim; and (2) the defendants lost or destroyed key video evidence, which he argued foreclosed the grant of summary judgment. After review, the Mississippi Supreme Court concluded plaintiff established several triable issues of fact, and as a result, summary judgment was inappropriate.