Session January 19, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Shelby County No. CT-003191-14
Robert Samual Weiss, Judge
a premises liability case. Appellant slipped and fell in a
clear liquid on the floor of the St. Francis Hospital
emergency room and filed suit against the hospital. In its
answer, the hospital denied liability and alleged comparative
fault on the part of Appellant and its housekeeping
management service, Crothall Healthcare, Inc. Appellant
amended her complaint to name Crothall as a defendant.
Appellees filed motions for summary judgment. The trial court
granted both motions, finding that Appellant had failed to
show that Appellees had actual or constructive notice of a
dangerous condition. Appellant appeals. Discerning no error,
we affirm the trial court's grant of summary judgment.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Shameka Rushing, Memphis, Tennessee, appellant, pro se.
Timothy Hayes and Joshua A. Hillis, Memphis, Tennessee, for
the appellee, AMISUB (SFH), Inc. d/b/a St. Francis Hospital.
Bethany Munyan Shelton, Kansas City, Missouri, William David
Darnell and Tracy Aaron Overstreet, Memphis, Tennessee, for
the appellee, Crothall Healthcare, Inc.
Armstrong, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
J. Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., and Brandon O. Gibson, J.,
about August 23, 2013, Shameka Rushing
("Appellant") entered the St. Francis Hospital
("SFH") emergency room. As Ms. Rushing approached
the registration desk, she slipped and fell in a clear liquid
on the floor. Ms. Rushing alleges that she injured her back,
left hip, and left ankle as a result of the fall.
23, 2014, Appellant filed a complaint in the Circuit Court
for Shelby County ("trial court"). Appellant's
complaint averred that: (1) SFH negligently maintained the
premises; (2) SFH failed to warn Appellant of the dangerous
condition; and (3) SFH failed to inspect its premises to
ensure that the premises were safe.
September 2, 2014, SFH filed its answer, denying
Appellant's allegations. As an affirmative defense, SFH
alleged comparative fault on the part of Ms. Rushing and/or
on the part of SFH's housekeeping management service,
Crothall Healthcare, Inc. ("Crothall, " and
together with SFH, "Appellees"). On November 10,
2014, Appellant amended her complaint to name Crothall as a
defendant. On December 16, 2014, Crothall filed its answer,
in which it denied liability and alleged comparative fault
against Appellant and SFH.
April 1, 2016, SFH filed a motion for summary judgment,
arguing that Appellant "cannot carry her burden of proof
at the trial of this matter as she has no proof as to how the
spill was created, how long it existed or who created the
spill." On April 20, 2016, Crothall filed its motion for
summary judgment, in which it argued that Appellant would be
unable to establish that Crothall had notice of the spill. On
April 20, 2016, Appellant filed a response, wherein she
Brenda Jones ([SFH's] Registration Clerk) and Embery
Preston (Registered Nurse [and SFH employee]) admitted that
the spill was sprite. They said that they had contacted the
housekeeping company (Crothall Healthcare) to remove the
spill. To their knowledge they thought the employees had
gotten it up but apparently not. These two ladies have not
been disposed by the defendants counsels [sic].
24, 2016, the trial court heard the motions for summary
judgment and determined that Appellant had not deposed the
two SFH employees mentioned in Appellant's response,
supra. The trial court reset the motion to July 28,
2016, thus providing Appellant an additional sixty days to
conduct discovery. During the sixty days, Appellant deposed
Shannon Elsea, her former attorney, and Christi Leonard, a
nurse employed by SFH; neither Mr. Elsea nor Ms. Leonard
witnessed the liquid on the floor or Appellant's fall.
28, 2016, the trial court heard the motions for summary
judgment. On August 8, 2016, the trial court granted
Appellees' motions for summary judgment, finding that:
During the July 28, 2016 hearing, the Court determined that,
despite the additional time granted, the Plaintiff has failed
to come forward with any evidence sufficient to create a
genuine issue of material fact as to whether Saint Francis
[or Crothall] had notice of the presence of the liquid on the
floor. Therefore, the Plaintiff's evidence is
insufficient to establish an essential element of her claim,
which is notice of the ...