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What is a "Gritty Banana Peel"?

Tue, Dec 28th, 2010
Posted in Ask the Expert

Scott Springer

A gritty banana peel is one that is aged, brown, and contains dirt, grit, and other filth.

The Gritty Banana Peel Doctrine for lawyers connotes an obligation to protect people on your property. The story goes something like this - if you fall on a banana peel in a store, the storekeeper may be liable for your injuries. In a couple 50 and 100 year old cases, the banana peel's quality determined the storekeeper's liability. If the banana peel was fresh and yellow, it was freshly upon the floor, and the storekeeper was not negligent for not cleaning it up. If the banana peel was gritty and brown, it had been on the floor a while, and the storekeeper was negligent, and thus liable for the customer's injuries.

 The doctrine does not apply to just bananas. If a dangerous condition exists, and you should be aware of it but allow it to continue, and someone gets hurt, you may be liable. This would apply to icy lots, wet floors, dangerous animals, or even bullying.

 This is a simplistic depiction, and actual facts may vary the obligations and amount of liability, but it is a good rule of thumb.

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