Jasko v. F.W. Woolworth Co. – Case Brief
Jasko v. F.W. Woolworth Co., 177 Colo. 418, P.2d 839 (1972).
Facts: Jasko (P) was injured when she slipped and fell on a slice of pizza on the floor near the “pizza-hoagie” counter in Woolworth’s (D) store. Woolworth sold the pizza on waxed paper to customers who typically ate it while standing. Jasko sued but her complaint did not claim or show that D was aware of the pizza on the floor or that the pizza was placed or dropped on the floor by D or one of its employees. P contended that conventional notice requirements need not be met because D’s method of selling pizza created a reasonable probability that the food would fall to the floor, making such accidents inevitable. The court entered judgment in favor of D on the grounds that P had failed to show that D had actual or constructive notice of the pizza on the floor. P appealed.
Issue: Is proof that a party’s operating methods create a dangerous condition that is continuous and foreseeable sufficient to meet the burden of constructive notice in a suit for negligence?
Holding and Rule: Yes. The court held that when the operating methods of a proprietor create a dangerous condition that is continuous and foreseeable, the requirement for proof of constructive notice is waived. D’s method of sale and that the fact that the floors were constantly in need of cleaning and in fact were constantly cleaned showed that D knew of the condition. Selling pizza on wax paper created the reasonable probability that the food would fall on the floor.
When a condition is out of the ordinary the plaintiff must show proof of notice and the defendant is permitted a reasonable period of time to discover the condition. But when the condition is one that is foreseeable and continuous, as in this case, the defendant is on constructive notice.
Disposition: Reversed and remanded for a new trial.