Articles Posted in Premises Liability

The Third District Appellate Court, in its written order issued on Oct. 16, 2019, affirmed a Tazewell County judge’s decision to grant summary judgment in favor of Pottsie’s Place. The appeals court ruled that the plaintiff, Jeffrey Smith, did not present any evidence showing the bar had a duty to take additional steps to prevent customers from being injured by a heater.

The premises liability case was brought against the bar, Pottsie’s, alleging that the bar chose not to take action to protect its patrons from potential injury when its employees placed a written warning above an outdoor heater.

“Requiring Pottsie’s to take further steps in addition to the clear and prominent warning it provided would essentially render Pottsie’s an insurer of its invitees’ safety, which would be unduly burdensome and contrary to the law,” according to the opinion written by Justice William E. Holdridge.

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William Clay, 67, went to a car dealer to help his son purchase a car. As he stood by a raised vehicle in the dealer’s garage, an employee operating a hydraulic vehicle lift lowered the car onto Clay’s right foot.

He suffered crush fractures to three toes, which required amputation within two weeks of the incident. He now suffers pain when walking, has a limp and uses a cane. His medical expenses were more than $31,300.

He sued the operator of the dealership, Shako Mako Inc., and the premises owner, Nahla LLC, alleging that these defendants negligently allowed Clay to access the garage area without warning of the hazard posed by the elevated vehicle.

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Sherri Miyagi, a dentist, was visiting a Walgreens pharmacy when she was injured by a hand truck operated by an employee of the defendant, Dean Transportation Inc. Dr. Miyagi filed a complaint, alleging negligence and respondeat superior against the defendant, Dean. Before the start of the jury trial, Dean admitted its negligence and a trial was held on the issues of causation and damages to the four elements of negligence.

Following the trial, the jury signed a verdict in favor of Dr. Miyagi for $2.4 million in noneconomic damages, $300,000 for past medical expenses, and $7.3 million for future medical expenses.

The defendant, Dean, filed a post-trial motion, seeking judgment notwithstanding the verdict, a new trial on all issues, a new trial on damages only, or in the alternative, a remittitur of all but $5,703.68 of the future medical expenses awarded by the jury. The trial court denied defendant’s request for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict and for a new trial. The trial court did, however, grant defendant’s request for a remittitur, but in the amount of $3.65 million, which represented 50% of the jury award for future medical expenses.

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Reginald Bush a/k/a Reggie Bush, a former Heisman Trophy winner, had a successful professional football career and was named as starting running back for the San Francisco 49ers. While he was playing against the then St. Louis Rams at Edward Jones Dome in 2005, whose turf playing field was surrounded by a slippery concrete surface, Bush ran out of bounds while returning a punt and slid on the slippery surface, falling awkwardly. As the play ended, and while trying to slow down, Bush slipped on the concrete and suffered a left lateral meniscus tear.

Reggie Bush required surgery and extensive rehabilitation and did not return to play that season. Although Bush subsequently obtained a one-year contract with a different team, he was unable to play. He has not signed another professional football contract. Now he is 33 years old and still has problems with his left knee.

Bush sued the Los Angeles Rams LLC , alleging it was responsible for the St. Louis Rams LLC’s failure to warn of and fix a dangerous condition at the Edward Jones Dome.

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The ruling has been upheld in the case of a woman whose estate was awarded $2.5 million after she died falling from a porch almost 14 years ago.

The 1st District Illinois Appellate Court rejected the argument from the defendant Charlotte Klink that the lawsuit filed against the estate of Klink’s former estranged and now-deceased husband was untimely filed.

The original defendant, Ronald Flores, died on Nov. 29, 2010. Continue reading

The Illinois Appellate Court for the 1st District reversed and remanded a decision entered by a judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County. The issue on appeal was focused on a non-manufacturing defendant in a product-liability case. The defendant identified the manufacturer in order to be dismissed from strict liability in a tort claim. There was a question as to whether the manufacturer was not subject to the court’s jurisdiction and whether the plaintiff should be permitted to reinstate the non-manufacturing defendant.

In this case, Martin Cassidy was working at a warehouse when a flexible bulk container belonging to China Vitamins ripped and leaked, which made the entire stack of containers unstable. One of the stacked containers fell on Cassidy, injuring him.

In 2007, he filed a lawsuit against China Vitamins. The lawsuit alleged strict liability, negligent product liability and one count under res ipsa loquitur.

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In July 2015, Henry Walker, a retired Army sergeant, was at a Wal-Mart store in Phenix City, Ala., when his foot got caught in a wooden pallet and he fell, fracturing his foot and hip. He was 59 years old at the time of this accident. He sought damages against Wal-Mart for negligence.

The jury’s verdict of $2.5 million in compensatory damages included another $5 million in punitive damages.  Walker, who lives in Phenix City, was represented by attorneys Charlie Gower, Shawn O’Hara and David Rayfield. According to the report of this case, the jury trial began on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 and continued until Wednesday, Nov. 15, with a jury reaching its verdict the same day after two hours of deliberation.

According to the attorneys for Walker, Wal-Mart should have covered the pallet so that it would not entangle a shopper’s foot. Wal-Mart countered that argument by maintaining that the display was not dangerous and that the cause of Walker’s injuries was his own negligence. According to Wal-Mart, the same displays are still in use.

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Dean Wilcox fell 50 feet through an open catwalk hatch onto a concrete floor. Having sustained severe injuries, he sued the on-site safety planner, Steven Basehore, for negligent planning causing the fall; Wilcox also named the safety planner’s employer, Bartlett Services Inc., and an intermediary company, ELR Consulting Inc. (ELR), in respondeat superior. ELR was one of the many contractors involved in the cleanup project.

The work being done at the  site was to dismantle a nuclear weaponry facility that measured more than 586 square miles.

Before trial, the court granted ELR judgment as a matter of law. At trial, the court instructed the jury on the borrowed servant doctrine, an extension of respondeat superior. Wilcox appealed both decisions. The Washington State Court of Appeals affirmed.

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Ana Espinal, 41, was a home health aide who was working in a New York City hospital. She was walking in a hospital hallway when she slipped and fell in a puddle of water that had leaked from an air conditioner in the ceiling. She suffered neck, back, left hip and left leg pain and diminished sensation in her left, non-dominant arm. Espinal was diagnosed with herniated disks at C5-6 and L4-S1, bulging disks at C4-5 and L1-4, left shoulder impingement and aggravation of asymptomatic arthritis in her left knee.

Espinal underwent conservative treatment, but that failed. She then had a laminectomy infusion at L4-S1, which included implantation of stabilizing hardware. The following year she underwent three separate surgeries, including implantation of spinal stimulators and her neck and lower back and a left knee replacement. She required additional surgeries for repair or replacement of the spinal stimulators.

Her past medical expenses totaled $439,000. Her workers’ compensation carrier paid all the medical bills plus indemnity benefits and maintained a worker’s compensation lien of $567,800.

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago has affirmed a district court decision where sanctions were allowed in the form of attorney fees. The court of appeals stated that under Federal Rule 37, sanctions may include an order to pay the amount of reasonable expenses incurred in preparing the motion for sanctions, including attorney fees.

In March 2012, Angel Houston sued Hyatt Corp. and the Hyatt Regency Inn for breach of contract, intentional misconduct and negligence. The lawsuit arose out of injuries Houston suffered after falling at the downtown Indianapolis Hyatt Hotel during a hotel-sponsored New Year’s Eve party on Dec. 31, 2010.

Houston claimed that Hyatt chose not to provide a safe and secure environment for the party and that this failure was the proximate cause of her injuries. Damages were sought in excess of $1 million.

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