Apartments To Pay For Resident’s Icy Fall
Lizzy McLellan, The Legal Intelligencer
December 23, 2014
Partner Jerry Baldino secures an $850,000.00 jury verdict on behalf of a client that suffered serious injuries as a result of a slip and fall at a Philadelphia apartment complex.
Angelit Barnes fell on the sidewalk in front of her apartment in February 2011, because it was covered with ice, the plaintiff’s pretrial memorandum said. When she fell, she suffered a severe fracture and dislocation of her right ankle that caused the bone to tear through the skin.
A Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas jury awarded a gross verdict of $847,362 for past medical expenses, past lost earnings, pain and suffering. The award was molded to $575,000 pursuant to a high-low agreement, against Campus Apartments Inc. and Garden Court South Associates.
Barnes slipped and fell around 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 1, 2011, the plaintiff’s memo said, while exiting her building. She had assumed the sidewalks in front of her building had been treated, it said.
According to the plaintiff’s memo, it was the common practice to treat walkways early in the morning to make them safe for pedestrians, and treatment of the sidewalks apparently occurred sometime between 7:30 and 8 a.m. that day.
According to the defendants’ pretrial memo, the defendants pretreated surfaces between noon and 5 p.m. on Jan. 31, 2011, and treated them again between 8 a.m. and noon on Feb. 1.
“Regardless, even if no prophylactic pretreatment efforts had been undertaken, as a matter of law defendants face no liability for the slip-and-fall incident, as defendants began reasonable measures to treat the property to remove ice by 8 a.m. on the morning of the incident, well within the time mandated by the applicable ordinance,” the defendants’ memo said.
As a result of her injury, Barnes had to get surgery, including the placement of pins and screws into her bone, the plaintiff’s memo said, and she wore a cast for three months. During rehabilitation of her ankle, the memo said, she began to develop left knee pain and an altered gait.
As of her last visit with her orthopedic surgeon, Barnes said she was still experiencing pain and discomfort in her ankle. According to the memo, she is unable to stand and walk more than three hours per day, and her surgeon said she will continue to need annual medical visits and anti-inflammatory medication as a result of the injury.
The defendants’ memo said Barnes has made an excellent recovery with only mild limitations affecting daily life.
The plaintiff’s settlement demand was $750,000, according to the defendants’ memo, and the defendants offered a $50,000 settlement, which Barnes rejected.
The bulk of the jury’s award, $762,200, was for pain and suffering. Awards for medical expenses and lost earnings were $47,362 and $37,800 respectively.
Defense counsel Mitchell S. Berger declined to comment.
A resident of a Philadelphia apartment complex has been awarded damages in a slip-and-fall case.
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