Trip and fall suit blames store for negligence

By Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau | Oct 1, 2009


After walking back to the car to get her purse, Joyce Barnes stepped backwards to close the car door and her foot landed in a depression in the Dollar General's parking lot.

She fell backwards and hit her head and hip on the concrete. Barnes believes her injuries are not a result of an accident but are due to the negligence of the store in maintaining the parking area.

Barnes filed a personal injury lawsuit against Dolgencorp of Texas Inc., doing business as Dollar General Store, and Winthrop Resources Corporation on Aug. 24 in the district court of Morris County. The defendant removed the case to the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas on Sept. 28.

According to the complaint, Barnes and her daughter drove to the Lone Star Dollar General on Nov. 23, 2007, and parked in a handicapped parking space. Barnes got out of the driver's side and started to walk towards the store's entrance when she realized she forgot her purse.

She walked back to the car, opened the door and bent over to retrieve her purse. When she stood up and took a step back to close the driver's side door, her foot landed "in an uneven depression in the blacktop." She fell backwards, hitting the concrete. Barnes was transported by ambulance to the hospital and required surgery on her hip.

The plaintiff alleges the store is negligent for the following:

Failing to maintain the parking area in a reasonably safe condition;

Failing to inspect the premises for potentially dangerous conditions;

Failing to discover and repair the condition in a reasonable time;

Failing to train employees to recognize and correct a potentially dangerous condition; and

Failing to exercise a duty of reasonable and ordinary care in protecting business invitees from dangerous conditions.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for physical pain, mental anguish, and medical expenses.

The store denies the allegations and state that Barnes' accident was caused by her own negligence.

Texarkana attorneys Bruce A. Flint and Matthew Q. Soyars of the law firm Flint and Soyars PC are representing the plaintiff in her allegations.

The plaintiff is demanding a trial by jury.

U.S. District Judge T. John Ward will preside over the litigation.

Case No 2:09cv00293

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