In a jury trial over a 3-day period in 2018, the jury returned the verdict in favor of the plaintiff, a restaurant waitress, Raona Pearson. The damages for her injuries were awarded against the defendant, Pilot Travel Centers LLC. Pilot filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV), which was denied by the trial court as were both parties’ motions for directed verdict at the close of all evidence.
Pilot appealed the verdict and the court’s denial of motions for directed verdict.
From the evening of April 7, 2016, Pearson was working as a waitress at a Denny’s restaurant located inside of a truck stop in East St. Louis, Ill. The truck stop was owned by the defendant, Pilot. Both customers and employees of Denny’s had available to them public restrooms located within Pilot’s truck stop. Denny’s did not have public restrooms of its own.