Leonard v. Pay'n Save Drug Stores

In Leonard v. Pay'n Save Drug Stores, 75 Wn. App. 445, 880 P.2d 61 (1994), the plaintiff, a store customer, slipped and fell on an ice-covered private sidewalk outside a store. Prior to the plaintiff's fall, a winter storm had deposited snow on the sidewalk, and over several days the snow became hard and icy. Id. at 446. Pay'n Save did not remove the snow or alter its condition. Id. The day of the incident, the only way in and out of the store was across the ice-covered sidewalk. Id. The plaintiff entered the store without incident, but on her way out, slipped and fell, and was injured. Id. The Court of Appeals determined a jury could reasonably infer Pay'n Save failed to exercise reasonable care and, therefore, breached its duty because: (1) the snow had been on the ground for four or five days, and it had become hard and icy; (2) the store was open for business, and the sidewalk outside was regularly used by customers--some carrying packages in their arms; (3) the sidewalk was a relatively small area and, thus, should have been easy to safely maintain. Id. at 451-52.