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Babcock v. Swedish Medical Center

October 28, 1996

CONNIE L. BABCOCK, APPELLANT,
v.
SWEDISH MEDICAL CENTER, AKA SWEDISH MEDICAL CENTER/BALLARD, A WASHINGTON CORPORATION, RESPONDENT.



Appeal from Superior Court of King County. Docket No: 95-2-09786-3. Date filed: 10/13/95. Judge signing: Hon. Robert S. Lasnik.

PER CURIAM. Shortly after watching a Swedish Medical Center employee mop the floor, Connie Babcock walked across the floor and slipped. We are asked to decide whether Swedish had a duty to protect her from a "known or obvious danger." Because we agree that Swedish had no duty under the facts presented here, we affirm the summary dismissal of Babcock's negligence claim.

FACTS

Connie Babcock was visiting her daughter-in-law who had given birth at Swedish Medical Center. During the hour that Babcock was in her daughter-in-law's hospital room, Babcock admits that "the cleaning lady had been in and out sweeping and mopping and I saw this." Minutes after the hospital employee finished mopping the room, a nurse asked Babcock to come over to the bassinet so that she could show her how to care for the baby's circumcision. Babcock got up and began walking towards the sink to put her coffee cup down. She slipped and fell, cutting her face and, spraining her ankle. According to Babcock, she did not see any wet spots before or after her fall.

Babcock sued Swedish, seeking damages for the hospital's negligence in allegedly failing to correct a dangerous condition or to warn her of the dangerous condition created by the wet floor.

Babcock testified in her deposition that she knew the floor had been mopped and that a warning sign would not have told her anything different.

Q. Would it be fair to say that it wouldn't have made any difference whether the sign was up or not because you already knew that the floor had been mopped while you were in the room and watching the housekeeper mopping the floor?

A. Okay. I knew -- yes, I knew that it was being mopped.

Q. And you knew it was being mopped with water?

A. Oh, yes.

Q. So the sign wouldn't have told you anything different?

A. No, because I was in there when it was being mopped.

Swedish moved for summary judgment, arguing that it had no duty to warn Babcock about the known danger created by a freshly mopped floor.

Alternatively, Swedish argued that even if it had a duty to warn Babcock,

Babcock could not establish proximate causation because she admitted in her deposition that a warning sign would not have changed her conduct because it would not have ...


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