California woman sues after slipping on banana peel

NEW YORK, March 1 Wed Mar 2, 2011 1:19pm EST

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NEW YORK, March 1 (Reuters Legal) - A banana peel, the torment of many a cartoon character, has allegedly become the real-life downfall of a woman in California.

Ida Valentine, 58, is suing the 99 Cents Only store where she slipped on one last April.

She said that she suffered a herniated disk and tissue damage, spent $9,000 on medical bills and is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.

"She fell and landed on her backside," said Courtney Mikolaj of the Quirk Law Firm in Ventura, California, which is representing her.

Mikolaj said the 99 Cents Only store in Fontana, California, refused a proposed settlement of $44,000. Executives from the company, a deep-discount retailer with hundreds of stores in western states, were not immediately available for comment.

The image in popular culture of an unwary pedestrian tripping head over heels on a banana peel stems from the late 19th century, when bananas were a popular street food in American cities and the press portrayed them as a public nuisance.

In 1879, Harper's Weekly groused that "whosoever throws banana skins on the sidewalk does a great unkindness to the public, and is quite likely to be responsible for a broken limb."

(Reporting by Jeff Roberts of Reuters Legal, Editing by Greg McCune))

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Comments (13)
LAMO1213 wrote:
$44,000?
Other than the lawyer, what sort of damages would justify that?

Mar 02, 2011 3:13pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Phydeux wrote:
Whatever happened to “Watch where you’re going”? If I step on a banana peel because I was inattentive, that’s my fault and no one else’s.

Mar 02, 2011 3:52pm EST  --  Report as abuse
CCW wrote:
The article spends more time talking about the ‘history’ of the situation rather than the details. Why is she suing the store? Did an employee of the store throw the peel on the floor? Was the peel on the floor of the store? If that was the case, that’s nasty and cleaning it up should have done to keep the store clean and safe. If it was on the public sidewalk outside I don’t see that there is a case, as that is public domain. I’m not a lawyer, I don’t even play one on TV. I’m just an average Joe with a modicum of common sense.

Mar 03, 2011 8:56am EST  --  Report as abuse
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