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The Banana Peel

A long-standing physical comedy gag is the person who slips and falls on a banana peel. The interesting thing is that this gag may apply in Boston tort cases as well!

A shopkeeper, or anyone else, has a duty to keep the premises safe for most everyone who comes onto the property. Many times, a case may turn on the owner’s knowledge of the condition. If the owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition, and yet did nothing to remedy the condition or at least warn visitors, the owner may be liable for an injury. People often slip and fall on wet spots, loose floorboards and, yes, even banana peels.

The color of the banana peel may help determine the owner’s liability. A pair of Massachusetts cases from the early 1900s, Goddard v. Boston and Maine R.R. and Anjou v. Boston Elevated Railway Co., lay out the different scenarios:

  • Yellow. If the plaintiff slips and falls on a yellow banana peel, that means that the peel recently dropped on the floor. An owner can claim no knowledge of the defect in such situations.
  • Brown. If the peel is brown, it has been on the floor for quite some time. The owner is likely to be liable for damages, especially if the plaintiff can prove actual knowledge ― a booming voice over the loudspeakers may have proclaimed “cleanup in Aisle 7.”

This analysis applies in other cases as well. The longer the steps have been loose or the longer the floodlight has been out, the more likely the plaintiff is to recover damages.

Slipping and falling on a banana peel is no laughing matter . Call my office today for your free case review if you have been injured in an accident.

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