Grocery stores have a duty to protect their customers from foreseeable harm. But what kind of limitation behold that duty and what can be reasonably construed as “foreseeable”? In the case of Poppe v. Angell Enterprises, Inc., on August 15,2015, the Poppes were shopping at a grocery store called Baesler’s Market located in Sullivan, Indiana. On their way out as they were walking through a crosswalk to get to their van in their handicapped spot, a truck was suddenly headed towards them. Despite their attempt to evade the truck, it pinned them against their own vehicle and they got injured in the process. It was discovered that the driver was under the influence of cocaine and alcohol and he was subsequently arrested. On October 7, 2016, the Poppes filed a lawsuit against the driver, their own insurance USAA, Baesler’s, and Baesler’s landlord Angell Enterprises, Inc. who is responsible for the parking lot. They were claiming negligence. Angell Enterprises’ motion for summary judgement was granted, but the Poppes would appeal.
The Poppes’ negligence claim is on premises liability. They claim that Angell Enterprises had a duty to protect them, that they breached that duty, and in the process, it proximately caused harm to them. These parties dispute whether the injuries occurred due to the premises or third-party criminal acts. While the Poppes argue that there should have been more protection on the crosswalk, the Court agrees with Angell Enterprises in that the injury occurred from the third-party criminal conduct. The Court applies the analysis from Goodwin v. Yeakle’s Sports Bar & Grill, Inc., in that foreseeability is based on the “broad type of plaintiff and harm involved, without regard to the facts of the actual occurrence.” In this case the plaintiff is the Poppes using the crosswalk and the harm is the drunk driver striking the Poppes.
The Court also uses analysis from Fawley v. Martin’s Supermarkets, Inc. In that case the Court said that the drunk driver was not foreseeable enough for the grocery store to protect their patrons from them. With that in mind, this Court said that Angell Enterprises could not have foreseen the Poppes getting struck by the drunk driver in the parking lot. They had no duty in that regard to the Poppes, so the Court affirmed summary judgement in favor of Angell Enterprises.
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