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Fall Down

New Jersey Jury Verdict

Review & Analysis

$308,000 VERDICT

Failure to clear ice from office parking lot - Fall Fractures to non-dominant elbow and shoulder. Middlesex County

The female plaintiff worker is an office complex contended that when she arrived at work one morning, she noticed that the parking lot was very icy and telephoned the defendant, the off-site property manager t advise that remedial work was needed. The plaintiff contended that although she was assured that the work would be performed quickly, no work was that day, resulting in her slipping and falling while walking in the lot at approximately 2:00 P.M.

The defendant property management company maintained that after receiving the plaintiff's call, it immediately called the codefendant removal contractor and was told by the codefendant that it would perform the work. The codefendant maintained that it was not called until that afternoon after the plaintiff's fall had already occurred. The snow removal contractor pointed out that its written agreement with the property manager was limited to removing snow, not treating ice. The codefendant contended that when the property manager asked it to perform the work, it advised the property manager that it needed to buy materials, and maintained that it purchased the necessary materials and performed the work the following day.

The defendants contended that the plaintiff, who made the original call about the ice, was well aware of the condition of the parking lot and was comparatively negligent in failing to avoid the fall.

The plaintiff sustained a fracture to her non-dominant elbow which required surgery and the use of hardware that remains, as well as a fracture to the non-dominant shoulder that did not require surgery. The plaintiff contended that she will suffer permanent pain and restriction, that she is at risk for arthritis in the elbow, and that future surgery in the area of th elbow may well be necessary. The plaintiff has not returned to work, but the evidence revealed that some months after the accident, the employer ceased operations at this location and the plaintiff made no future income claims.

The jury found the defendant property manager 100% negligent and awarded $308,000, including $250,000 for pain and suffering and the balance for special damages.

Ptrf: Stevens. 12-02

Attorney for plaintiff: Steven Cahn of Cahn & Parra in Edison

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