Dr. Frederick M. Hueston, PhD 

I woke up real early today, folks. The air in Florida was getting a bit nippy, you know, cause it’s fall and the temperature’s dropping into the 60s. Now, I understand if you’re from up north, that 60 degrees ain’t much, but down here, it’s coat and gloves weather. So, I got myself dressed, grabbed my coat, gloves, and that trusty fedora, and was all set to leave when I hit a slippery spot on the mat right outside my door. Little did I know, that slip would lead me down the rabbit hole of a slip and fall case later that day.

I strolled into my favorite diner with Flo holding down the fort behind the counter and the Admiral planted on his favorite stool. Flo was pouring me a cup of joe, flashed me a wink, and asked, “What’s cooking this morning, sailor?” That sailor bit was new, and it set off the Admiral’s usual tales from the high seas. I tried to tune him out, rolling my eyes at Flo for encouraging him, when my phone rang and saved me from more sea yarns.

Oops, I’ve Fallen and Can’t Get Up!On the other end of the line was a lawyer calling himself Mr. Smith, working for Dewie, Cheatem & Howe, or something like that. He wanted to know if I was a slip and fall expert, especially on marble floors. I cracked a grin and told him I was an expert at my own slips and falls. Then, I asked him to spill the beans on the case. Mr. Smith spilled ‘em, alright. He related how a lady slipped and fell in a hotel lobby, on a set of stairs, and now she was suing the place, claiming the floor was too slippery. I asked which side he was on, and he said he was representing the hotel. I told him I’d need to visit the scene, take some slip readings, and do a proper investigation. He agreed, and we set up a meet.

Next day, I headed south to the hotel, lugging my trusty slip meter – the Bot 3000, for those who are curious about my detecting hardware. I met with the lawyer and a bunch of hotel folks. I asked ‘em the usual questions and they guided me to the spot where the lady took her tumble. 

It was a fancy white marble floor. Just before the stairs, there was a long hallway from the conference center, and the stairs led down to the lobby. I set up my meter and started taking slip readings. All the readings came back safe. 

Now, like I always say in my seminars, those readings only tell you what’s happening right then and there. All sorts of things could’ve made the plaintiff slip.

As I was putting away my gear, I spotted a bunch of cameras pointing at the stairs. I turned and asked one of the hotel workers if they had any footage of the lady’s fall. They all looked at each other and shrugged. I suggested calling up security to check. A tall fella, looked like he could’ve played for the NBA, showed up after a while. I asked him the same questions, and he said, “Let’s check it out.” 

We huddled in a room filled with screens. Luckily, we knew when the lady took her spill, so we could narrow it down. As we scanned through the footage, out of the blue, we saw our lady walking down that long hallway, moving fast, and she suddenly whipped out her phone, starting to text away. And just as she reached the top of the stairs, still glued to her phone, you can probably guess what happened next. She took a tumble down the steps.

I turned to the lawyer, grinning, and said, “Looks like she ain’t got much of a case.” He cracked a smile and said, “Good catch, my friend. And if that’s not enough, your slip-test data will provide the facts we need to get her lawsuit thrown out of court.” Another case cracked.

The Stone Detective is a fictional character created by Dr. Frederick M. Hueston, PhD, written to entertain and educate. Dr. Fred has written over 33 books on stone and tile installations, fabrication and restoration and also serves as an expert for many legal cases across the world.  Send your comments to