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Irisalva Ribeiro v. Safeway

March 26, 2012

IRISALVA RIBEIRO,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
SAFEWAY, INC. DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Barry M. Kurren United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT SAFEWAY INC.'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT SAFEWAY INC.'S

MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT Before the Court is Defendant Safeway Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 137). The Court heard this Motion on March 7, 2012. After careful consideration of the Motion, the supporting and opposing memoranda, and the arguments of counsel, Safeway's Motion is DENIED.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On April 6, 2008, Plaintiff Irisalva Ribeiro entered the Beretania Safeway store. (Complaint ¶ 5.) It was raining that day, and water was brought into the store entryway from shopping carts, umbrellas, and customers. At the entryway, Safeway placed a rubber-backed red carpet, which Ribeiro acknowledged was to prevent customers from stepping onto the wet tile floor and slipping. (Defendant's Ex. 3 at 54-55.) Safeway also placed a yellow "Wet Floor" cone at the entrance of the store. (Id. at 108-09.) When Ribeiro entered the store, she stepped onto the rubber mat but stepped off of the mat and onto the tile flooring before reaching the end of the mat. (Id. at 100; Plaintiff's Decl'n ¶ 7.) When she stepped off of the mat, she slipped and fell on the wet tile. (Plaintiff's Decl'n ¶ 8.)

On March 23, 2009, Ribeiro filed a Complaint against Safeway in state court, which Safeway removed to this Court on April 16, 2009. In the Complaint, Ribeiro asserts claims for negligence (Count I) and punitive damages (Count II). She prays for general and special damages, punitive damages, and fees and costs.

On November 10, 2011, this Court granted Safeway's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Ribeiro's claim and prayer for punitive damages.

On January 18, 2012, Safeway filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment on Ribeiro's negligence claim. As discussed below, the Court denies Safeway's Motion.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

A motion for summary judgment may not be granted unless the court determines that there is no genuine issue of material fact, and that the undisputed facts warrant judgment for the moving party as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). In assessing whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, courts must resolve all ambiguities and draw all factual inferences in favor of the non-moving party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986); see also Cline v. Indus. Maint. Eng'g & Contracting Co., 200 F.3d 1223, 1228 (9th Cir. 2000).

In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the court's function is not to try issues of fact, but rather, it is only to determine whether there are issues to be tried. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. If there is any evidence in the record from which a reasonable inference could be drawn in favor of the non-moving party on a material issue of fact, summary judgment is improper. See T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac. Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 631 (9th Cir. 1987).

DISCUSSION

Safeway seeks summary judgment on Ribeiro's claim for negligence. The parties agree that, because this Court has diversity jurisdiction over this case, Hawaii substantive law applies. Under Hawaii law, the elements of a negligence cause of action are:

(1) A duty, or obligation, recognized by the law, requiring the defendant to conform to a standard of conduct, for the protection of ...


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