Jacobs v. Hill's Food Stores, Inc., 8713SC270

Docket NºNo. 8713SC270
Citation88 N.C.App. 730, 364 S.E.2d 692
Case DateFebruary 16, 1988
CourtCourt of Appeal of North Carolina (US)

Lee, Meekins & Viets by Fred C. Meekins, Jr., Whiteville, for plaintiff-appellant.

Marshall, Williams, Gorham & Brawley by William Robert Cherry, Jr., Wilmington, for defendant-appellee.


The question presented for review is whether the trial court erred in allowing defendant's summary judgment motion. For the reasons that follow we affirm.

On motions for summary judgment, the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, must show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. N.C.Gen.Stat. sec. 1A-1, Rule 56(c) (1983); Stanley v. Walker, 55 N.C.App. 377, 285 S.E.2d 297 (1982). The moving party has the burden of establishing the absence of any triable issue of fact. Brenner v. Little Red Schoolhouse, Ltd., 302 N.C. 207, 274 S.E.2d 206 (1981). While summary judgment is generally not appropriate in negligence cases, it may be appropriate when it appears that there can be no recovery for plaintiff even if the facts as alleged by plaintiff are taken as true. Stoltz v. Burton, 69 N.C.App. 231, 316 S.E.2d 646 (1984); Frendlich v. Vaughan's Foods of Henderson, Inc., 64 N.C.App. 332, 307 S.E.2d 412 (1983).

A prima facie case of negligence liability is alleged when a plaintiff shows that defendant owed her a duty of care, defendant breached that duty, the breach was the actual and proximate cause of plaintiff's injury, and damages resulted from the injury. Southerland v. Kapp, 59 N.C.App. 94, 295 S.E.2d 602 (1982). Taking all the facts alleged by plaintiff as true, we conclude that defendant has shown that it has not breached any duty owed to plaintiff.

Plaintiff had entered the defendant's place of business to purchase groceries from the defendant, and therefore occupied the status of an invitee of the defendant. Morgan v. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., 266 N.C. 221, 145 S.E.2d 877 (1966).

A storekeeper owes to his business invitees the duty to exercise ordinary care to maintain the approaches and entrances to his store in a reasonably safe condition and to warn his customers of any hidden dangers or unsafe condition of which it knew or in the exercise of reasonable supervision should have known. Frendlich, supra. A storekeeper is not an insurer of the safety of his customers and is liable only for injuries resulting from negligence on his part. Id. He is under no duty to warn invitees of obvious dangers of which they have equal or superior knowledge. Wrenn v. Hillcrest Convalescent Home, Inc., 270 N.C. 447, 154 S.E.2d 483 (1967); Stansfield v. Mahowsky, 46 N.C.App. 829, 266 S.E.2d 28, cert. denied, 301 N.C. 96 (1980).

In Frendlich, the plaintiff fell when she failed to see a second curb outside the defendant's store. Four feet from the store entrance was the first curb which, due to the slope of the street, varied in height. Plaintiff observed and safely negotiated the first curb, but fell and struck her car when she failed to see the second curb at the street. Plaintiff testified that she was unfamiliar with the area and did not see the second curb because she was looking straight ahead. Plaintiff contended that the defendant was negligent in maintaining a double curb at the entrance of the store and in failing to post signs or warnings which instructed patrons of the danger presented by the double curb. The plaintiff further...

To continue reading

Request your trial
9 cases
  • Williams v. E. J. Pope & Son, Inc., No. COA03-384 (NC 5/18/2004), COA03-384
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • 18 Mayo 2004
    ...can be no recovery for plaintiff even if the facts as alleged by plaintiff are taken as true." Jacobs v. Hill's Food Stores, Inc., 88 N.C. App. 730, 732, 364 S.E.2d 692, 693 (1988)(citations In the present case, plaintiff argues that the layer of ice that caused her to fall was a hidden con......
  • Kelly v. REGENCY CENTERS CORP., COA09-715.
    • United States
    • North Carolina Court of Appeal of North Carolina (US)
    • 6 Abril 2010
    ...has been found by our appellate courts to be contributory negligence as a matter of law. See, e.g., Jacobs v. Hill's Food Stores, Inc., 88 N.C.App. 730, 364 S.E.2d 692 (1988). In Jacobs, the Court affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant where the plain......
  • Rabil v. Food Lion, LLC, No. COA07-706 (N.C. App. 4/15/2008), COA07-706
    • United States
    • North Carolina Court of Appeal of North Carolina (US)
    • 15 Abril 2008
    ...that they may reasonably be expected to be discovered. Id., 134 N.C. App. at 162, 516 S.E.2d at 646; Jacobs v. Hill's Food Stores, Inc., 88 N.C. App. 730, 733, 364 S.E.2d 692, 693-94 (1988). "When a plaintiff does not discover and avoid an obvious defect, that plaintiff will usually be cons......
  • Pulley v. Rex Hosp., 8810SC1188
    • United States
    • North Carolina Court of Appeal of North Carolina (US)
    • 15 Agosto 1989
    ...proximate [95 N.C.App. 91] cause of her injury; and (4) her injury resulted in damages. See Jacobs v. Hill's Food Stores, Page 894 Inc., 88 N.C.App. 730, 732, 364 S.E.2d 692, 693 (1988). After reviewing the materials in the record on appeal, we conclude that Ms. Pulley was contributorily ne......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT