Last week, the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas concluded that a floor mat at the entrance of a Skechers store was not an unreasonably dangerous condition, and dismissed customer’s premises-liability claim.  In Sepulveda v. Skechers USA Retail, LLC, No. 5:20-CV-00915-JKP-ESC, 2021 WL 4267714 (W.D. Texas, Sept. 20, 2021, mem. op.), Alicia Sepulveda’s foot got caught in a floor mat at the entrance of a Skechers store, and she fell face first onto the floor.  Consequently, she lacerated her head, which resulted in having a metal plate surgically implanted into her head and face. Sepulveda sued Skechers for premises liability. In response, Skechers filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court granted. 

In granting summary judgment, the court began by noting that Skechers owed Sepulveda a duty “to make safe or warn against any concealed, unreasonably dangerous conditions” of which Skechers was or reasonably should have been aware, but Mrs. Sepulveda was not.”  However, the court concluded that the mat was not an unreasonably dangerous condition. “Texas courts have rejected the argument that the existence of a mat alone creates a dangerous condition. Rather, it is a trip hazard—such as the buckle, ruffle, or bend—in a mat that can create a dangerous condition.” The court reasoned that there were no previous trip-and-falls or complaints regarding the subject mat or the store entrance. Further, each of the witnesses, including Sepulveda, testified that they observed the mat as flat.  Lastly, although Skechers had no policies, training, or specific responsibilities with respect to the mat, such alleged failures were not evidence that the mat itself was unreasonably dangerous.   

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