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H.E. Butt Grocery Company v. Resendez

Supreme Court of Texas
Mar 11, 1999
988 S.W.2d 218 (Tex. 1999)

Summary

holding that the grape on which the plaintiff slipped was the dangerous condition

Summary of this case from Pipkin v. Kroger Tex. L.P.

Opinion

No. 97-1122.

March 11, 1999.

Appeal from the District Court Number 138, Cameron County, Robert Garza, J.

Wallace B. Jefferson, Crisanta Guerra for petitioner.

Randall P. Crane for respondent.


Can mere display of produce for customer sampling constitute an unreasonable risk of harm to customers? The court of appeals said yes. We say no. We reverse the court of appeals' judgment and render judgment that plaintiff take nothing.

While shopping at an H.E. Butt Grocery Company store, Maria Resendez slipped and fell near two grape displays. She sued HEB for negligence, alleging that the customer sampling display posed an unreasonable risk of harm that caused her injuries. The trial court rendered judgment on a jury verdict for Resendez. The court of appeals affirmed.

From the undisputed evidence, we know that HEB had two grape displays in its produce section. One display table contained grapes bagged in cellophane and sitting in boxes. The other display table contained a bowl of loose grapes for customer sampling. The customer sampling bowl was level, sitting on ice and recessed about five inches below the table's surface. Each display table had a three-inch railing around its edges. The floor of the entire produce section was a non-skid surface and floor mats were in place around the display tables. There were also warning cones near the grape displays.

The court of appeals concluded that HEB's grape display, allowing for customer sampling, was some evidence of an unreasonable risk of harm to store customers. As a matter of law, though, the mere fact that a store has a customer sampling display cannot, without more, be evidence of a condition on the premises that poses an unreasonable risk of harm.

See id. at 772.

For Resendez to recover from HEB, she had the burden to prove that (1) HEB had actual or constructive knowledge of a condition on the premises, (2) the condition posed an unreasonable risk of harm, (3) HEB did not exercise reasonable care to reduce or to eliminate the risk, and (4) HEB's failure to use such care proximately caused her injuries.

See Corbin v. Safeway Stores, Inc., 648 S.W.2d 292, 296 (Tex. 1985); see also Keetch v. Kroger, 845 S.W.2d 262, 264 (Tex. 1992).

Resendez, like the plaintiff in Corbin, claims that HEB's customer sampling display resulted in an unreasonable risk of harm. However, Resendez presented no evidence that the display created an unreasonable risk of customers falling on grapes. In Corbin, there was more evidence than the mere existence of a display. It was the manner in which Safeway displayed the grapes — in a slanted bin over a linoleum tile floor with no protective floor mat — that created an unreasonable risk of customer falls from grapes falling on the floor. Here, there is no evidence that the manner of display created an unreasonable risk.

See id.

Accordingly, we grant HEB's petition for review, and without hearing oral argument, reverse the court of appeals' judgment and render judgment that Resendez take nothing.

See Tex.R.App.P. 59.1.


Summaries of

H.E. Butt Grocery Company v. Resendez

Supreme Court of Texas
Mar 11, 1999
988 S.W.2d 218 (Tex. 1999)

holding that the grape on which the plaintiff slipped was the dangerous condition

Summary of this case from Pipkin v. Kroger Tex. L.P.

holding that the grape on which the plaintiff slipped was the dangerous condition

Summary of this case from Roy Pipkin Ex'r of the Estate ex rel. Pipkin v. Kroger Texas LP

concluding as matter of law that mere existence of store's grape-sampling display, without more, was not evidence of premises condition posing unreasonable risk of harm

Summary of this case from Garcia v. Wal-Mart Stores Tex., L.L.C.

concluding as matter of law that mere existence of store's grape-sampling display, without more, was not evidence of premises condition posing unreasonable risk of harm

Summary of this case from Davis v. Comal Cnty. Commissioners Court

In H. E. Butt Grocery Co. v. Resendez, 988 S.W.2d 218, 218-19 (Tex. 1999), the Supreme Court of Texas distinguished the holding of Corbin. It clarified that the "mere display of produce for customer sampling"; id., 218; in that case a bowl of loose grapes, did not necessarily constitute an unreasonable risk of harm to a store's customers.

Summary of this case from Fisher v. Big Y Foods, Inc.

In Resendez, the injured party contended that because H.E.B. displayed its grapes in a self-service bin that permitted shoppers to sample the fruit, there was an unreasonable risk that customers would slip on grapes that fell to the floor.

Summary of this case from CMH Homes, Inc. v. Daenen

distinguishing Resendez's injury from grape that had fallen from a sampling display from circumstances in Corbin in determining that display that injured Resendez was not inherently dangerous

Summary of this case from Marshall v. ESA Mgmt., LLC

In H.E. Butt Grocery Company v. Resendez, 988 S.W.2d 218, 219 (Tex. 1999), the Texas Supreme Court held that the mere fact that a store has customer-sampling display could not, without more, be evidence of a condition on the premises that posed an unreasonable risk of harm.

Summary of this case from Dubiel v. Dr. Pepper Snapple Grp., Inc.

In Resendez, the supreme court addressed whether a grape-sampling display constituted an unreasonable risk of harm after a customer slipped near the display.

Summary of this case from Knox v. Fiesta Mart

discussing Corbin

Summary of this case from SOVA v. MILLER BAR-B-Q

In Resendez, a grocery store had loose grapes available for sampling in a bowl that was "level, sitting on ice and recessed about five inches below the tables (sic) surface.

Summary of this case from Nat. Conven. Stores v. Erevia
Case details for

H.E. Butt Grocery Company v. Resendez

Case Details

Full title:H.E. BUTT GROCERY COMPANY, Petitioner v. Maria RESENDEZ, Respondent

Court:Supreme Court of Texas

Date published: Mar 11, 1999

Citations

988 S.W.2d 218 (Tex. 1999)

Citing Cases

Garcia v. Wal-Mart Stores Tex., L.L.C.

The Resendez Court held that, as a matter of law, "the mere fact that a store has a customer sampling display…

Knox v. Fiesta Mart

Brookshire Grocery Co. v. Taylor, 222 S.W.3d 406, 408 (Tex. 2006). Fiesta Mart relies on the Texas Supreme…