Troupe v. Burlington Coat Factory

In Troupe v Burlington Coat Factory, Approved for Publication 1/26/16, A-1687-14T4, the Appellate Division did not find the mode-of-operation rule to apply to Burlington Coat Factory. Although plaintiff fell on a berry on the floor in the baby section of the department store, the Appellate Division found that there was no actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition and thus no breach of duty of care to plaintiff, its invitee. The mode-of-operation rule shifts the burden of proof from the plaintiff to defendant in situations where there is a self-service component to the defendant’s business. An example would be the fruit and vegetable section of a grocery store where water is commonly utilized and a patron slips on a wet floor. Here, the plaintiff argued that food is commonly utilized by babies and young children and thus one would expect to find food in the baby area. However, this Appellate Court did not find the mode-of-operation rule to be applicable. Please feel free to contact us with any questions about this case and/or any New Jersey issue/matters.
DISCLAIMER: Our comments about this recent case is not legal advice and does not create an attorney client relationship.

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