Session May 24, 2018
from the Circuit Court for Davidson County No. 14C4626 Kelvin
D. Jones, Judge.
appeal involves a premises liability suit filed by a customer
of a Goodwill store after the customer sat on an item of
furniture that was for sale and it collapsed. The trial court
granted summary judgment to Goodwill, finding no genuine
issue of material fact and concluding that Goodwill did not
create or have actual or constructive knowledge of any
alleged defect. The plaintiff appeals. We affirm.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Court Affirmed and Remanded
L. Glanton and Shilpini Vora Burris, Nashville, Tennessee,
for the appellant, Ovalla Jobe.
C. Statum, III and Jordan Caralisa Connell, Nashville,
Tennessee, for the appellee, Goodwill Industries of Middle
Brandon O. Gibson, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Arnold B. Goldin, and Kenny Armstrong, JJ., joined.
BRANDON O. GIBSON, JUDGE.
Facts & Procedural History
Jobe filed this lawsuit against Goodwill Industries of Middle
Tennessee, Inc., seeking to recover for injuries and expenses
she allegedly incurred as a result of a fall at a Goodwill
store. According to Ms. Jobe's complaint, she was a
customer at the store and attempted to sit in a plastic chair
that was displayed for sale when the chair collapsed, causing
Ms. Jobe to fall and hit her head on another piece of
furniture. Ms. Jobe alleged that Goodwill "had
constructive notice of the hazardous, dangerous and unsafe
condition of the plastic chair, which caused the Plaintiff to
fall." Ms. Jobe also alleged that Goodwill "created
a hazardous, dangerous and unsafe condition which created an
unreasonable risk of harm and proximately caused the
Plaintiff to suffer personal injuries." Specifically,
she alleged that Goodwill employees were negligent in failing
to safely maintain and inspect the facility and address
unsafe conditions and in failing to provide warning signs or
notice of unsafe conditions.
filed a motion for summary judgment along with the
depositions of Ms. Jobe and two Goodwill employees.
Specifically, Goodwill cited deposition testimony from its
risk manager and its district manager, both of whom testified
that donated items are visually inspected and examined by a
donation attendant when received and inspected again by a
processing employee before merchandise is priced and placed
on the sales floor. The district manager added, "We look
at it. You know, we're checking the sturdiness. You know,
we're maybe moving it around. We're not sitting on
it. You know, it's - it's a pretty quick
process." Goodwill also cited the following testimony
from Ms. Jobe's deposition:
Q. Before you sat down on the chair, as you were looking at
the chair before you sat down on it, did you pick up the
chair, look at it, inspect it to see if it looked -
Q. - safe to sit ...