Malouf v. Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprise
To prevail in a slip-and-fall case, a plaintiff may be required to prove, by a fair preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant possessed actual or constructive notice of an obstruction. In March 2011, the plaintiff went to the Judds concert at the MGM Grand Theater. At the end of the concert, she left her seat and proceeded toward the stage, because she hoped to hand Wynonna Judd a letter that she wrote. A security officer denied her request. In response, the plaintiff ran up the center aisle, turned near row X of the orchestra seats and fell. A theater manager stated that a metal chair had been placed in row X for a customer. A casino is not an insurer of invitees, pursuant to Ruffo v. Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprise, a 1994 decision. The defendant owed the plaintiff the duty to have the premises reasonably safe and to warn or protect the plaintiff about any dangerous condition or hazard about which the defendant had actual or constructive notice. "Absent any direct or circumstantial evidence that the defendant had actual or constructive notice of a defect, there is no basis in law for the recovery of damages," pursuant to Senatore v. Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprise, a 2005 decision. The plaintiff's fall was caused either because she collided with the metal chair in the walkway, after which a customer picked it up, or because she collided with a metal chair a customer held in the walkway, away from his body. The plaintiff did not prove the defendant possessed actual notice that the metal chair had been moved and that there was an obstruction in the walkway. No evidence existed of similar accidents. The court was not persuaded that the placement of a metal chair in row X was dangerous. "While it is unfortunate that the Plaintiff suffered as a result of her fall," wrote the court, "she failed to prove that the Gaming Enterprise had actual or constructive notice of a dangerous condition." The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court granted judgment to the defendant.