This case involves an injury to a woman shopping at a supermarket. The supermarket was two stories and had an automated escalator used to transport shopping carts from one floor to the next. The escalator was only for carts, and an adjacent escalator was for shoppers. The plaintiff, a shopper, placed her cart on the escalator and descended on the adjacent escalator. She reached the lower floor and prepared for the arrival of her cart. There were no warning signs or suggested wait areas for retrieving the cart. Also, the two “doors” which were designed to slow the progress of the cart when it exited the escalator were absent. The shopping cart reached the lower level, but was shot out of the escalator and struck the plaintiff, which caused the plaintiff to break an ankle and suffer a concussion in the subsequent fall.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Should the doors have been present to prevent the cart from shooting out of the cart escalator?
Expert Witness Response E-001255
I am very familiar with this type of case, as I worked as a designer and manufacturer of this type of escalator for over twenty-two years. In escalators for carts, the automatic doors at the end of the escalator (especially when the escalator is descending) is critical to prevent the cart from shooting out. If the grocery cart is filled, then the absence of doors can be dangerous as even a low speed can cause injury if it strikes an individual. In this case, without any warning sign, it appears that the grocery store was negligent in removing the doors, and they are partially liable for the injury to the woman.