Alaska Supreme Court Upholds the Jury’s Finding of No Causation in a Trip and Fall Case
Congratulations to Kelsey Shewbert who prevailed in Robert T. Baum v. Home Depot, U.S.A., Inc. (Alaska Sup. Ct. No. 1836-July 21, 2021). This matter involved a customer who tripped on pallets in the middle of the store aisle and fell, tearing his rotator cuff. During the trial, the store’s expert doctor admitted that the fall caused the injury. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury found the store negligent but concluded that its negligence was not a substantial cause of the customer’s injury. The customer moved for a new trial, alleging that the verdict was inconsistent because the doctor admitted that the injury was related to the fall. The store argued that while there may have been medical causation (i.e. the fall caused the injury), the question was whether the store’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing this accident. The Alaska Supreme Court affirmed, holding that any negligence of the store had to be a substantial cause of the customer’s injuries and there was no evidence that the jury was confused about the causation jury instruction provided by the court.