Padgett v. Wal-Mart Stores East, Limited Partnership, 041018 FED6, 17-6206

Docket Nº:17-6206
Opinion Judge:COLE, CHIEF JUDGE.
Party Name:RICHARD PADGETT, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. WAL-MART STORES EAST, LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, Defendant-Appellee.
Judge Panel:BEFORE: COLE, Chief Judge; GUY and DONALD, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:April 10, 2018
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
 
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RICHARD PADGETT, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

WAL-MART STORES EAST, LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 17-6206

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

April 10, 2018

NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION

ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY

BEFORE: COLE, Chief Judge; GUY and DONALD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

COLE, CHIEF JUDGE.

A routine visit to Walmart by Richard Padgett prematurely ended after he fell in a restroom and fractured his kneecap. It took surgery and rehabilitation to mend his injuries. Padgett brought a slip-and-fall claim against Walmart, but the district court granted summary judgment in favor of Walmart, reasoning that Padgett had failed to create a factual dispute about whether there was a foreign substance on the floor that caused him to fall. We agree with the district court, and we affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

When Padgett, then 66-years old, took the bus from his assisted-living community to Walmart on a sunny day in May 2015, his shopping list was not long: he wanted soda and groceries, plus he just liked to browse for things on sale. After the bus dropped him off, Padgett used his walker to assist him as he proceeded inside. Once in the store, he put his walker in storage, got into an electronic shopping cart, and drove his cart to the restroom. Padgett parked his cart outside the restroom, and then went inside to use one of the stalls.

This is where Padgett's day took a turn. On his way out of the stall, he walked a few feet forward and then fell face first into the bathroom floor. The fall was painful: Walmart personnel had to call EMS, and Padgett was taken away on a stretcher. Padgett would later learn that he had fractured his kneecap, requiring surgery and months of rehabilitation.

Padgett found the restroom clean and at no point, before or after his fall, observed any foreign substances on the floor. He nevertheless filed a slip-and-fall suit against Walmart in Kentucky state court, arguing that there was liquid on the floor which caused his fall. To corroborate this theory, he pointed to a stain that he observed on his outside pant leg, though he only observed the stain well after the fall, after EMS had arrived on the scene and placed him on a stretcher.

Walmart removed the case to federal court and, following discovery, moved for summary judgment in its favor. The district court granted summary judgment...

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