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Gardner v. Harbor Freight Tools USA, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Idaho

May 22, 2019

BARBARA ANN GARDNER, individually, Plaintiff,
v.
HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS USA, INC., a Delaware corporation, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER RE: DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Honorable Edward J. Lodge U.S. District Judge.

         Pending before the Court is Defendant Harbor Freight Tools USA, Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment. (Dkt. 14.) The motion is now ripe. Having fully reviewed the docket herein, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented in the briefs and record. Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding further delay, and because the Court conclusively finds that the decision-making process would not be significantly aided by oral argument, this matter shall be decided on the record before this Court without oral argument.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Barbara Ann Gardner was shopping with her husband at a Harbor Freight Tools USA, Inc. (“Harbor Freight”) store located on Fairview Avenue in Boise, Idaho, on February 3, 2017. Upon entering the store, she tripped and fell to the ground.

         On November 1, 2017, Gardner filed a complaint in Ada County District Court of the State of Idaho alleging a claim of common law negligence against Harbor Freight. Gardner alleged that Harbor Freight breached its duty of care to maintain the store premises in a reasonably safe condition and/or to warn of hidden or concealed dangers of which it was or should have been aware. Specifically, Gardner contended that Harbor Freight left an entryway floormat bunched up and the bunched up floormat was dangerous and/or presented an unreasonable risk of harm to Gardner and the public.

         Harbor Freight filed a motion for summary judgment. In support of its motion, Harbor Freight included declarations of two store employees on duty when the accident occurred and excerpts from Gardner's and her husband's depositions. In the employees' declarations, both employees averred that they inspected the store entryway immediately prior to Gardner's entrance and recalled seeing that the entryway floormats were not folded, wrinkled, or bunched up. In addition, Harbor Freight's company practice is for employees to frequently scan the floormats and surrounding area and to immediately fix any problems with the floormats should they exist. Both employees averred they followed that practice.

         In her deposition, Gardner stated that she did not see what she tripped over and did not know what caused her to fall.

Q. Can you describe for me how you fell?
A. Something stopped my feet, and I went straight to the floor. Just like my hands-I put my hands out to catch me, and I went face first. It was just a “body plant” onto the concrete floor.
Q. Draw for me the layout of the area where you fell with the-I believe there were two mats as you walk in the front door.
A. I have no idea.
Q. You have no idea? You don't have any recollection of-. . .
THE WITNESS: Well, I saw the deal that showed two ...

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