Rodriguez v. Kroger Co.Annotate this Case
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the decision of the district court in this personal injury case entering judgment based on the jury’s allocation of fault and awarding Plaintiff five percent of her costs.
Plaintiff was injured when she slipped on a puddle of soapy water and fell at a Smith’s Food & Drugs Centers, Inc. grocery store. Plaintiff sued Smith’s, the janitorial company Smith’s contracted with to clean the floors, and the independent contractor the janitorial company hired to do the work. Plaintiff settled with the independent contractor before trial. At trial, the jury apportioned five percent of the fault to Smith’s, twenty percent to Plaintiff, and seventy-five percent to the independent contractor. Plaintiff argued that Smith’s and the janitorial company were liable for the independent contractor’s share of the damages, but the district court disagreed. On appeal, the Supreme Court held (1) Smith’s was liable for the damages the independent contractor caused, but the janitorial company was not liable for the independent contractor's negligence because Plaintiff did not demonstrate that the janitorial company also assumed Smith’s nondelegable duty; and (2) costs need not be allocated in proportion to a party’s fault under the Liability Reform Act.