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Peninsula man sues Petsmart for stepping in dog poop

Postby katis25now on Mar 31 2010 5:51 pm

Robert Holloway really stepped in it when he went to Petsmart to pick up some bird seed and dog food.

According to a lawsuit filed in federal court here, Holloway slipped on a pile of dog feces two years ago at a Newport News Petsmart, slipped and badly hurt his back. He also struck his head, knocking out four of his false teeth, the suit says. He’s suing the chain for $1 million.

Petsmart has filed an initial reply stating that the store and its manager that day were not negligent in the accident. Pet poop and pee accidents are a fact of life in its stores, where leashed pets are welcome visitors, a company spokeswoman said.

Holloway, of Poquoson, went to the Jefferson Avenue Petsmart on Jan. 18, 2009. The suit says that Petsmart and the manager should have protected him from harm.

The suit says Petsmart and its employees “negligently allowed animals to enter the premises and deposit feces in such a manner as to create a dangerous and hazardous condition.”

The employees either should have known there was a pile of poop on the floor, or if they did know should have cleaned it up before he stepped in it, the suit says.

Holloway’s lawyer, Michael Goodove of Norfolk, said Holloway didn’t fall to the ground after stepping in it, but he twisted his body violently and smacked his head against something nearby.

He said Holloway couldn’t see the feces because the color of it blended in with the floor.

Holloway, 69 at the time, had to have back surgery as a result, though Goodove acknowledged that his client did have a preexisting back problem. This just worsened it, he said.

“That’s the problem, you can bring your pet on the premises,” Goodove said. “But that requires a higher level of diligence. You’ve got a duty to remove dangerous substances.”

Holloway could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Petsmart spokeswoman Jessica White said the company doesn’t comment on litigation.

However, speaking generally, White said employees are trained to clean up messes and customers are encouraged to clean up after their pets. Every store has “oops” stations, clearly marked, with clean-up supplies.

“They’re animals. There’s always going to be accidents,” she said from Phoenix, where the company is based.

The suit was initially filed in Norfolk Circuit Court, but Petsmart had it transferred to U.S. District Court here, where it has had success in defeating such slip-and-fall cases.

U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Friedman dismissed a similar suit in 2008 filed by a woman who slipped and fell in dog urine at the same Newport News store, injuring her knee. The judge ruled that the woman failed to show that any store employee knew there was urine on the floor.

Petsmart is the largest pet specialty retailer in the country with about 1,150 stores (43 in Virginia), 46,000 employees and $5 billion in annual sales. The company’s annual reports say it is a frequent target of personal injury litigation, but the costs of such suits were not released.

Source: hamptonroads.com
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Re: Peninsula man sues Petsmart for stepping in dog poop

Postby ChiefThunderbutt on Mar 31 2010 6:33 pm

If this clumsy asshole pursues his lawsuit and loses he should be forced to eat a pound or two of dog shit.
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Re: Peninsula man sues Petsmart for stepping in dog poop

Postby prarie doggin on Mar 31 2010 7:22 pm

Two spoons Chief. One for him and one for his slip 'n fall lawyer.
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Re: Peninsula man sues Petsmart for stepping in dog poop

Postby daphne on Mar 31 2010 10:49 pm

I have to agree with this plaintiff on this one. There's no difference between poop and pee and a broken jar of pickles in a super market that could cause a fall. The problem with him being paid off from Petsmart's point of view would be that the case would set precedent, unless Petsmart began posting non-liability statements about poop. Actually, I would also like to see the stores post something that tells dog owners it's better to ask for help cleaning up a mess than to leave it for someone else. The person whose dog did this was probably afraid to ask for help cleaning it up. I wouldn't have been afraid, because, well, shit happens.
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