CHICAGO – A state appeals court has granted a win to supermarket chain Aldi against a woman who claimed she was injured when she slipped and fell in the store, and then accused the retailer of failing to preserve evidence when no surveillance video could be found recording the incident.
In a 2-1 decision, a three-justice panel of the Illinois First District Appellate Court in Chicago ruled on Dec. 13 to affirm the Cook County Circuit Court decision in the lawsuit filed by Patrinia Ann Gunby and Herman Gunby against Aldi Inc. and insurer Gallagher Bassett Services Inc.
The lower court had granted summary judgment to Aldi and dismissed claims of loss of consortium and negligence, while also dismissing claims of spoliation both against the grocery store and its insurer.
In the ruling, the majority disagreed with Patrinia Ann Gunby's claims of spoliation of the recordings, stating that "there is no indication that the 'evidence' to which Patrinia refers – i.e., video footage of Patrinia’s fall and/or the exit area of the store – ever existed."
The Gunbys sued Aldi and Gallagher Bassett over negligence allegations after Patrinia fell at an Aldi store in an area between the cash registers and the exit. Herman Gunby alleged loss of consortium against the company, and Patrinia also claimed spoliation of evidence.
As stated in the ruling, "on May 27, 2012, Patrinia shopped with her niece at an Aldi grocery store in South Holland," when, "after making a purchase, Patrinia fell while inside of the store," and was "transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where she was treated and released."
Patrinia sought additional treatment after the incident, claiming she had continued pain and suffered limitations in her daily life.
On May 23, 2014, the Gunbys filed the complaint against Aldi and Gallagher Bassett.
In addition to the loss of consortium and negligence claims, Patrinia also alleged spoliation of evidence and claimed Aldi failed to keep the security camera footage that recorded store activity the day of the fall.
The Cook County judge granted Aldi's motion for summary judgment on the Gunby's allegations on April 19, 2017.
The decision is an unpublished order issued under Supreme Court Rule 23, which limits its use as precedent.
Justice Mary Rochford concurred in the judgment.
Justice Bertina Lampkin dissented, in part, regarding the majority's finding that the plaintiffs failed to present facts that supported Aldi knew about a substance on the floor.
According to Cook County court records, the Gunbys have been represented by Calvita Frederick, of Chicago.
Aldi has been represented by attorneys with the firm of Carrillo Law LLC.
Illinois 1st District Appellate Court case number 1-17-1289