California Storekeepers Duty to Keep the Floors Safe

A storekeeper has a duty to keep the floors of its premises safe for those who must pass over them in the transaction of their business and must use ordinary care to avoid accidents or injury to its customers. ( Craddock v. Kmart Corp. (2001) 89 Cal.App.4th 1300, 1306; Tuttle v. Crawford (1936) 8 Cal.2d 126, 130, 63 P.2d 1128.) The Supreme Court has observed that the fact that customers' attention may be attracted by the display of merchandise "would seem to increase the necessity of exercising care to the end that the floor spaces and aisles allotted to the use of customers should be made safe and kept fit for such purpose." ( Tuttle, supra, at p. 130.) At the same time, it is recognized that a storekeeper need exercise only "ordinary" care to keep the premises in a "reasonably" safe condition. That duty does not mean the storekeeper may do only what is "necessary" to operate the premises. "Such a duty would far exceed 'ordinary care' and maintenance of 'a reasonably safe condition.'" (Craddock v. Kmart Corp., supra, 89 Cal.App.4th at p. 1308.)