WILBUR M. WASHINGTON, JR. AND HAZEL M. WASHINGTON APPELLANTS
WEST QUALITY FOOD SERVICES, INC. APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 09/29/2017
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. DAL
WILLIAMSON TRIAL JUDGE.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANTS: WAYNE E. FERRELL JR.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: JOHN D. BRADY.
J. WILSON, P.J., TINDELL AND LAWRENCE, JJ.
Wilbur Washington was injured when he slipped and fell in a
restroom at a gas station convenience store. He later sued
various entities that owned the property or that operated or
were affiliated with the gas station or the convenience
store. He also sued West Quality Food Services Inc. (West), a
Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) franchisee that operated a
restaurant as a tenant in another part of the same building
as the convenience store. Washington eventually settled with
and/or voluntarily dismissed all defendants other than West.
Washington alleged that West failed to exercise reasonable
care to keep the restroom in a reasonably safe condition.
West moved for summary judgment, arguing that it did not
exercise control over the restroom, which was in a common
area of the building. The circuit court granted West's
motion, and Washington appealed. We agree with the circuit
court that there is no genuine issue of material fact or
evidence that West exercised control over the restroom.
Therefore, West is entitled to judgment as a matter of law,
and we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Tugwell Oil Company built the "Casino Center Exxon
II" in Robinsonville in 1996. The property consisted of
a gas station and a convenience store with a restaurant on
either end of the convenience store. A Subway sandwich shop
was at one end of the building. Tugwell leased the other end
to West to operate a KFC franchise. There were no restrooms
in the part of the building that Tugwell leased to West.
Restrooms were located off a foyer between the convenience
store and the KFC.
West's lease with Tugwell required Tugwell to maintain
the restrooms and other "common areas" of the
building. West was required to pay Tugwell part of the cost
of maintaining the common areas, including the restrooms.
West agreed to pay Tugwell $500 per month for such costs.
In 2003, Tugwell sold the Casino Center Exxon II to Tunica
Properties LLC. West and Tunica Properties continued to
operate under the original Tugwell-West lease, and West
continued to pay Tunica Properties $500 per month for
In May 2009, Washington was driving from Memphis to Tunica.
He and his family had been to Memphis for the day while in
Tunica for a convention. On their way back to Tunica, they
stopped at the Casino Center Exxon II to use the restroom and
to get something to eat at the KFC.
The restrooms were off a foyer just inside the entrance to
the convenience store. Washington and his son went in the
men's restroom. While in the restroom, Washington slipped
and fell in "water and urine" that had collected
around a "big drain . . . in the floor." He tried
to get up, but he slipped and fell again. Washington
immediately experienced pain in his shoulders. He reported
his fall to a cashier named Casey at the ...