CHICAGO — A Chicago federal judge has dismissed a suit filed by a woman claiming she suffered shoulder injuries requiring medical attention after slipping on what she says was vomit at a Chicago Dollar Tree store.

Hanan Faraj first filed suit in February 2016, where she accused store workers of failing to maintain a safe premise or warn her of the potentially unsafe conditions inside the store. 

In September 2014, Faraj alleged she entered the North Lincoln Avenue Dollar Tree store where she slipped on what she claimed looked and smelled like vomit. 

She was assisted by store employees who called an ambulance, and by a store manager, who testified at his deposition hearing that he was working in another nearby aisle when the incident occurred. The manager said he had only recently surveyed the area of the store where the accident happened and didn’t notice any sort of substance on the floor.  

He added he only observed the substance in question after the incident, at which time it still appeared “very fresh and very wet.”

In rendering his decision, U.S. District Judge John Robert Blakey noted Illinois law stipulates any claim of negligence must prove a duty of care on the part of the defendant has been breached and that an injury has resulted from it. 

In this instance, Blakey concluded no evidence existed to establish that the “defendant placed the substance on the ground or had actual notice of its presence.”

Without more evidence, the judge concluded the court was left to more heavily weigh the testimony provided by the manager, who said he had not observed any substance on the floor in the area of the accident as recently as just 10 minutes before Faraj’s fall. 

While noting the discrepancies between the two versions of the story put before the court, Blakey added “discredited testimony is not normally considered a sufficient basis for drawing a contrary conclusion.”

He added it is the legal responsibility of the plaintiff to present enough compelling evidence to “defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment.” 

Faraj was represented in the action by attorneys with the Law Office of Haytham Faraj, of Chicago. 

Dollar Tree was defended by the firm of Bryce Downey & Lenkov, of Chicago. 

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Bryce Downey & Lenkov LLC U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

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