According to Florida law, in transitory foreign substance cases, courts look to the length of time the condition existed before the accident occurred:
In transitory foreign substance cases, courts look to the length of time the condition existed before the accident occurred. See Gaidymowicz v. Winn–Dixie Stores, Inc., 371 So.2d 212, 214 (Fla. 3d DCA 1979). In Gaidymowicz, Mary Gaidymowicz also slipped and fell on some liquid detergent in the aisle of a grocery store. Harold Sobel, who had accompanied her to the store, testified that upon noticing the substance, he immediately notified the store manager and then returned to the aisle where he found his mother on the floor. Id. at 213. Sobel further testified it took him just over a minute to walk over to the manager to inform him of the liquid and return to the aisle. Id. The store manager testified that no more than five minutes prior thereto he had walked down the same aisle and found nothing on the floor. Id. He also testified that as soon as Sobel told him of the substance, he ordered an employee to clean it up. Id. at 214. By that time, it was too late. Based on these facts, “[w]e conclude[d] that with only one minute actual notice, Winn–Dixie did not have sufficient opportunity to correct the dangerous condition and, therefore, could not be liable on the basis of actual notice.” Id. We further held that “Mrs. Gaidymowicz failed to present sufficient evidence as to the length of time the liquid was on the floor for Winn–Dixie to be charged with constructive knowledge of the condition and a reasonable time in which to correct it.” Id.
Publix Super Markets, Inc. v. Heiser, 156 So.2d 540 (Fla. 2d DCA 1963) is also instructive. In Heiser, the plaintiff slipped and fell on a broken jar of mayonnaise. A Publix Super Markets’ stock man in the next aisle heard the mayonnaise jar fall and immediately made his way to the site of the broken jar, where he found Mrs. Heiser already on the ground. As to the time it took him to get to the site of the incident, the stock man testified: “I would say a matter of seconds. Probably a minute. Probably a minute and a half. Depends. The store was crowded and the trouble—main trouble was you couldn’t get through right away.” Heiser, 156 So.2d at 541. Relying upon Waters v. Winn–Dixie Stores, Inc., 146 So.2d 577 (Fla. 2d DCA 1962), where the slip and fall occurred about four to five seconds after a jar of baby food fell and broke on a floor near a checkout counter, the Second District Court of Appeal in Heiser held that, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, it could not be said the Publix grocery store was “negligent [on] any theory.” Id. at 542.
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