Japan Today

Supermarket slip lawsuit ruling influenced by size and color of pumpkin tempura

By SoraNews24

In April of 2018, a 35-year-old man stopped by a Summit supermarket in Suginami, Tokyo, after work to get a quick bite to eat. However, as he walked along the line of registers he accidentally slipped on a piece of pumpkin tempura.

Like most tempura foods, this kind of deep-fried pumpkin is incredibly oily, so stepping on it would likely result in a slip of unheard of velocity and suddenness, like slipping on a banana peel imbued with the power cosmic.

The slip caused light injuries to the man’s leg including a bruised right knee. In the outset of the accident the supermarket gave the man 60,000 yen, but he filed a lawsuit anyway, claiming that it wasn’t enough to compensate all his treatment as well as his pain and suffering.

The lawsuit demanding 1.4 million yen from Summit’s parent company Sumitomo Corp came in front of Judge Ayako Nagatsuma of the Tokyo District Court. It wasn’t until Dec 9 of this year that a ruling was made, but what the court lacked in speed they more than made up for in thoughtfulness.

Judge Nagatsuma explained her ruling that, on one hand, the store has a responsibility to ensure a safe environment for its customers, and since pumpkin tempura is packed by shoppers themselves using tongs, the likelihood of someone dropping a piece is high. This is a risk that Summit should have taken the appropriate measures to address.

On the other hand, it was another customer who dropped the fried slice of pumpkin rather than an employee, so they weren’t directly to blame. Furthermore, the man himself was deemed to have demonstrated partial negligence by not noticing the fallen foodstuff in the first place. This was objectively judged by careful consideration of the pumpkin’s size and color in contrast with the color of the floor.

So she ruled that both parties bore some responsibility in the accident and that the man should receive less than half of the amount he demanded, roughly 580,000 yen.

These types of lawsuits are generally less common in Japan, where people tend to take responsibility for their own misfortunes. So even though it seemed like an almost excessively well-thought-out judgment, netizens were largely angry at the verdict and sided almost unanimously with the major corporation.

“He was in the wrong for not looking where he was going.”

“That judge is crazy.”

“What about the customer who dropped it? Why is the supermarket being punished for their action?”

“I hope this doesn’t lead to pumpkin tempura regulation.”

“Those things really are slippery though.”

“Even if they dedicated a worker to constantly monitor the floor, they couldn’t prevent it.”

“I feel bad for the store.”

“If you slip, it’s your own problem, not the store’s.”

“The guy’s 35. Did he become bedridden from his bruised knee?”

“Oh, people are going to start imitating this now…”

This does set a precedent that some people may want to take advantage of, and might lead to a slippery slope of copycat lawsuits…a very slippery slope covered in canola oil, batter, and firm-but-yielding vegetable matter.

However, it would seem in this case Summit didn’t demonstrate due diligence in preventing the accident, likely because they weren’t monitoring the floor enough. As the one comment suggested, we’ll never be completely safe from pumpkin tempura, but supermarkets ought to be protected from future frivolous lawsuits by improving their self-serve systems to a reasonable standard.

In fact, a lot of stores probably already meet those standards. It’s just that in this particular set of circumstances the supermarket was found liable.

Sources: Jiji.com, Asahi Shimbun, Itai News

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japanese pumpkin steps into the autumn spotlight as the newest Starbucks Japan Frappuccino flavor

-- Court verdict reached on Kyoto schoolgirl who sued bullies for causing her mental illness

-- Idol ordered to pay management company 650,000 yen after going to hotel with male fan

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Bruised knee? I use to get those daily playing soccer. Where should i file my lawsuit?

He should just take it as a man and get over it.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

See was America is teaching the world.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

These types of lawsuits are generally less common in Japan, where people tend to take responsibility for their own misfortunes.

Less common than where? Antarctica? Easter Island? Perhaps not.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Furthermore, the man himself was deemed to have demonstrated partial negligence by not noticing the fallen foodstuff in the first place.

Interesting statement. Makes it very easy to blame the victim for just about any accident and use this case as an example.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

By this day's exchange rate,

580,000Y = $5575 USDollars, It is good, he received some compensation.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Man, do I hear a cry adult baby or what? If that were me, I would have had it checked by a doctor. If the store gave me money, I might have taken it with no complaints. However, if it required surgery, I would have sent the bill to the store, if they had dropped the tempura. It goes back to personal responsibility. Suing only benefits the lawyers ( and maybe the courts).

4 ( +6 / -2 )

So if people walk around looking at the floor directly in front of them and are hit by another person, they can claim they were watching out for pumpkin tempura, and sue.

And if they were watching out ahead of themselves, not to walk into other people, and slipped on an unnoticed piece of pumpkin tempura, they can sue.

Can't win.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Supermarket slip lawsuit ruling influenced by size and color of pumpkin tempura

Though it's a serious case, I burst out laughing. Sorry. A tempura slip is killing me :)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I should slip on tempura more often.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The original suit request of $14,000 was a bit overboard. But, the award of $5500 is reasonable.

It's not a ridiculous amount of money for such an occurrence, depending on the plaintiff's injuries, which I assume the court examined the evidence of as closely as the colors of the tempura and market floor.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Wow good job this man has studied all the methods of the American way of getting compensation money

1 ( +3 / -2 )

An unemployed chump trying to pay bills the desperate way?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I was HIT by a Car on the way to work ( riding a bike) and was paid less than this....the Public Defender Office ( at Kasumigaseki ) said they don’t have to pay much unless my BONES were BROKEN. I couldn’t work for more than two weeks.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I trust that after his payment to his attorney and court filing fees, he wound up with very little in his pockets.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Seems like a well-thought-out judgment. The man may get enough to pay his court costs, but won't make much of a profit, thus discouraging future lawsuits of this nature, while also encouraging the market to give some thought to the problem.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sad ruling for Japan. People will start suing for every little liability whether it was their own fault or not. Lawyers might or might not get paid but something is better than nothing and they wouldn't know unless they sue.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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