In Martinez v. Regent Insurance Co. (2018AP1685), the Court of Appeals District IV denied a new trial for the plaintiff in this slip and fall case.
Jose Martinez slipped and fell at the Country Kitchen restaurant and filed this lawsuit seeking damages for his injuries. On appeal, Martinez argued that Country Kitchen had destroyed evidence, failed to disclose an expert witness, and provided misleading evidence at trial.
Country Kitchen had brought a private investigator as a witness at the trial, and Martinez argued that the private investigator should have been disclosed as an expert witness. The appeals court determined that the private investigator was not an expert witness because he did not rely on specialized knowledge but simply provided his observations of Martinez. Because the private investigator was a lay witness, Country Kitchen did not need to disclose him as an expert witness to Martinez. The appeals court further determined that the private investigator’s testimony was not misleading.
The appeals court also upheld the circuit court decision that the owner of Country Kitchen did not intentionally destroy surveillance footage of Martinez’s fall.
For these reasons, the appeals court upheld the circuit court decision denying Martinez a new trial.