Fact question exists on County’s subjective awareness of fault in slip-and-fall case

Bexar County v. Leticia Votion 04-14-00629-CV (Tex. App. – San Antonio, May 20, 2015).

This is a slip-and-fall/actual notice case in which the 4th Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a plea to the jurisdiction.

Votion was working for a third-party contractor as a housekeeper in the Juvenile Justice Center—a Bexar County facility. Votion asserts that while vacuuming, she tripped over torn carpet and fell. She sued the County, which filed a plea to the jurisdiction asserting Votion failed to provide statutory notice of the claim. The trial court denied the plea and the County appealed.

In response to the County’s plea to the jurisdiction, Votion averred she gave Scott Foley, an office assistant in the Bexar County Juvenile Probation Department, a completed copy of OSHA Form 301, Injury and Illness Incident Report within three months after her fall. In Foley’s deposition, he admitted giving Votion the form for her to complete but denied that Votion gave him the completed form back. A fact question therefore exists as to whether notice was handed in. The question then became whether the form, if handed in timely, gave the County subjective awareness of its probable fault. The documents on record demonstrate that 18 months prior to her fall, the County had reports of various spots on the carpet which were coming apart and could be hazardous. No evidence pointed specifically to the exact spot Votion fell, but it was part of the carpet on which a hazard report was made. The court held a fact question exists as to whether the County had actual subjective awareness of the danger. The plea was therefore properly denied.

If you would like to read this opinion click here. Panel: Justice Barnard , Justice Alvarez and Justice Chapa. Memorandum Opinion by Justice Alvarez.  The attorney listed for the County is Susan A. Bowen.  The attorney listed for Votion is Alejandro Aguirre.

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