Virginia Lawyers Weekly//November 25, 2018
Virginia Lawyers Weekly//November 25, 2018//
On Dec. 11, 2016, the 83-year-old plaintiff went to lunch with her family at a Richmond area restaurant after church services. Shortly after checking in at the hostess stand, the hostess asked the plaintiff and her party to follow her to their table. As soon as the plaintiff began to walk from the hostess stand towards her table, she slipped and fell on the floor. The fall broke the plaintiff’s right shoulder in three places; it also broke her right hip.
The restaurant vehemently denied liability, claiming that it had no actual or constructive notice. Further, it claimed that there were no spills or other substances on the floor that had caused the fall. An investigation revealed that the restaurant was aware that its dining floor was slippery prior to the fall. The restaurant had replaced the floor about a year before the fall and had been having trouble with its floors being slippery for months prior to the fall. Communications between the restaurant and the flooring company revealed that the restaurant was not properly cleaning its floors and was instead transferring grease from in and around the kitchen to other parts of the restaurant when its staff mopped. Additionally, two eyewitnesses were discovered during the investigation. They had entered the restaurant approximately 15 minutes before the plaintiff and complained to the hostess that the floors were slippery. No action was taken to clean the floor and no warning signs were put up to warn customers that the floors were slippery.
The plaintiff had to undergo replacement surgeries on both her right hip and right shoulder. Following a lengthy hospitalization, the plaintiff had to endure over two months at in-patient nursing and rehabilitation facilities. She was hospitalized and away from home for a total of 74 days. Although the plaintiff’s surgeries were successful, her injuries ultimately limited her daily activity. While she was able to walk unassisted before the fall, she required a cane for assistance after the fall. Additionally, she suffered occasional bouts of motion sickness that had to be treated with anti-nausea medication. The case settled after depositions.
Type of action: Premises Liability
Court: Richmond Circuit Court
Tried before: Mediation
Name of mediator: Hon. Catherine C. Hammond (Ret.)
Date resolved: Sept. 25, 2018
Special damages: $245,000
Verdict or settlement: Settlement
Attorneys for plaintiff: Gray B. Broughton and Stephen E. Baril, Richmond
Plaintiff’s experts: Dr. Vincent Dalton, OrthoVirginia; Dr. Matthew Walker, OrthoVirginia; Dr. Wayne Shaia, The Balance and Ear Center