Plaintiff fell at work when she crossed over a floor surface that a janitor was stripping and waxing. The janitorial service was an outside contractor. Plaintiff claimed that she had been waved through by the janitor to leave the building, crossing over the wet area in question. Liability was hotly contested, as the janitor claimed that he told plaintiff not to proceed and was turning to find a way to dry and clear a path for her when she rushed through. Although some caution signage was up in the room, there was a dispute as to whether it was visible to plaintiff along the egress that she was using. Independent witnesses gave conflicting information about the incident.
Plaintiff suffered an injury to her neck, right shoulder, right hand, right hip and low back. Ultimately, the shoulder injury proved most troubling, resulting in a surgery to correct a full thickness tear of the rotator cuff. Initially, the surgeon addressed the shoulder injury through arthroscopy and later with a shoulder manipulation under anesthesia with open repair. Some issues of prior, pre-existing condition complicated the medical picture. The case was resolved approximately a month out from a trial date through subsequent negotiation after a judicial settlement conference.
Plaintiff had a large workers’ compensation lien, which plaintiff’s counsel was successful in getting waived in its entirety as part of the negotiation process in exchange for closing her workers’ compensation file.[13-T-141]
Type of action: Personal injury – premises liability
Injuries alleged: Cervical spine sprain, lumbosacral spine sprain, bilateral SI joint sprain, right shoulder sprain, right hip contusion, right traumatic trochanteric bursitis
Court: Newport News Circuit Court
Mediator: Walter F. Ford
Date resolved: April 12, 2013
Verdict or settlement: Settlement
Attorney for plaintiff: John M. Cooper, Norfolk