The mere fact that a store employee is simply in close proximity to a dangerous or hazardous condition does not replace what is called in Texas, “the time-notice rule”. Constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition can be shown by proof that the dangerous or hazardous condition in dispute had existed for a reasonably long enough period of time that the premises owner reasonably should have discovered it. This is known as the “time-notice rule,” and the Texas Supreme Court has repeatedly held that “temporal evidence best indicates whether the owner had a reasonable opportunity to discover and remedy a dangerous condition.” As the Texas Supreme Court stated in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Reece, 81 SW.3d 812, 816 (Tex. 2002):
An employee’s proximity to a hazard, with no evidence indicating how long
the hazard was there, merely indicates that it was possible for the
premises owner to discover the condition, not that the premises owner
reasonably should have discovered it. Constructive notice demands a more
extensive inquiry. Without some temporal evidence, there is no basis upon
which the factfinder can reasonably assess the opportunity the premises
owner had to discover the dangerous condition.
Without the time related requirement of the, owners of real property could be subject to strict liability claims for any dangerous or hazardous condition on the premises, which would be in itself unreasonable.
Williams, McClure & Parmelee is dedicated to high quality legal representation of businesses and insurance companies in a variety of matters. We are experienced Texas civil litigation attorneys based in Fort Worth who know Texas courts and Texas law. For more information, please contact the law firm at 817-335-8800. The firm’s new office location is 5601 Bridge Street, Suite 300, Fort Worth, Texas 76112.