Slip and Fall on Vomit In a Store In California

In Wills v. J. J. Newberry Co. (1941) 43 Cal. App. 2d 595, 111 P.2d 346, "shortly before the accident in the store a small boy had vomited in one of the main aisles near a cross aisle. There were several sales girls on duty in the immediate vicinity of the vomitus. Miss Lazarus, in walking down the aisle, slipped on the vomitus and fell to the floor. Several sales girls saw that she had fallen and pressed buzzers to give the alarm and call those in authority. They did nothing more to protect any customer against a similar fall. . . . Four or five minutes after Miss Lazarus had fallen, plaintiff, in walking down the aisle, slipped in the vomitus and fell, causing the injuries for which she recovered judgment." (Id. at p. 599.) While the evidence did not demonstrate that any sales girl actually saw the putrid substance, or that the defendant store had actual knowledge of its presence, the appellate court held the circumstances were sufficient to place the defendant on constructive notice before the plaintiff fell.