Woman slipped on black ice in lot after ‘Snowmegaddon’ – $400,000 Settlement

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//December 1, 2018

Woman slipped on black ice in lot after ‘Snowmegaddon’ – $400,000 Settlement

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//December 1, 2018

On Jan. 27, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. the plaintiff, accompanied by her husband, was walking with her two small dogs in the parking lot of the Spectrum Shopping Center in Reston towards the PetSmart located at the shopping center. There had been a very heavy snow storm (“Snowmegaddon”) on Jan. 22 and 23, and the snow removal subcontractor, M & B Enterprises, pushed the snow into piles throughout the parking lot. M & B had been hired by Chapel Valley who had contracted with Lerner, the management company, to maintain the parking lot and remove snow and ice on its behalf. As plaintiff was walking, she slipped and fell on black ice that had formed due to the thaw and refreeze of the snow pile, which was on a slight incline and drained across the crosswalk upon which plaintiff was walking. Plaintiff suffered serious ankle fractures and developed an infection at the surgery site which required extensive care. John Allin, plaintiff’s liability expert, opined that while it was not negligent to initially pile snow in areas outside the snow pile maps due to the heavy amount of snowfall, the defendants were negligent for not moving the pile from the parking lot in a timely manner after the storm had stopped. He also opined that the defendants were negligent in not pre-treating the lot near the pile as the weather forecast was for temperatures to drop significantly below freezing the night plaintiff slipped. The case settled about a week before trial, with $150,000.00 of the settlement paid by Nationwide on behalf of Chapel Valley and $250,000 paid by Liberty on behalf of Lerner. M & B was uninsured. On a practice note, John Allin has literally written the book on snow and ice removal for the industry and is incredibly knowledgeable.


Type of action: Personal Injury-Slip and Fall

Injuries alleged: A tri-malleolar fracture of the right ankle involving the tibial plafond, requiring open surgery to place hardware to close fractures, with development of post-surgery infection requiring both oral and IV antibiotics and a second surgery to remove the hardware, multiple debridements, and skin grafting to ultimately close the surgical site.

Name of case: Marilyn Gerson v. Lerner Enterprises, LLC, Chapel Valley Landscape Company, and M & B United Enterprises, Inc.

Court: Fairfax Circuit Court

Case no.: CL-2017-0008119

Date resolved: June 28, 2018

Special damages: $191,500 in medical bills; no lost wage claim.

Verdict or settlement: Settlement

Amount: $400,000

Attorney for plaintiff: Thomas J. Curcio, Alexandria

Attorneys for defendant: Christopher R. Constabile, Fairfax (Lerner Enterprises, LLC); Wayne F. Cyron, Alexandria (Chapel Valley Landscape Company); Eric F. Schell, Fairfax (M & B Enterprises, Inc.)

Plaintiff’s experts: John A. Allin, Erie, PA., full-time consultant to the snow removal industry; Dr. Jeff Schulman, Fairfax, board–certified orthopedic surgeon; Dr. Donald Poretz, Annandale, board-certified infectious disease doctor; Dr. Vineet Mehan, Falls Church, board-certified plastic surgeon.

Defendant’s experts: Brian L. Mills, P.E. , Mechanical Engineer, CED Technologies, Annapolis, MD.; safety engineer and industry standards regarding property ownership/management.

Insurance carrier: Liberty Insurance Company for Lerner; Nationwide for Chapel Valley


Verdicts & Settlements

See All Verdicts & Settlements


Read More


Are you or your law firm cutting back on holiday gifts to clients, colleagues or associates?

  • Yes, times are tough (78%, 29 Votes)
  • No, it's business as usual (22%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 37

Loading ... Loading ...