Chicago, Client Results, Firm News, General Negligence, Johnson & Bell, Retail

In an Admitted Liability Case, Gainer, Ogura Bring Dose of Reality to Plaintiff's Damages Demands

June 2, 2022

Johnson & Bell Shareholders, Brian P. Gainer and Meiko L. Ogura, successfully resolved a recent trial for their multinational retail client.  In this admitted liability case, the plaintiff, a 59-year-old geologist, slipped and fell in a store.  The condition causing his fall was created by an employee who spilled water on the floor resulting in a puddle of water and he did not realize it.  The plaintiff fell shortly thereafter. 

The case was complicated by the fact that the plaintiff had a full, left-knee replacement two months before the accident and good results with post-operative physical therapy. The fall injured the same leg, tearing the left quadriceps tendon and causing a lateral and medial capsular knee injury.  This resulted in surgery to repair the quadriceps tendon and a medial and lateral capsular repair.  Six months later the plaintiff had arthroscopic surgery due to adhesions.  Plaintiff had several doctors opine that he never fully recovered from the injuries caused by the fall and that currently, he suffered from both pain and physical restrictions.  Medical specials were $68,000, but Gainer and Ogura were able to contest the specials due to lack of proper foundation. Consequently, plaintiff was only able to admit slightly under $40,000.  Lost wages were $27,500.

The defense presented an expert who testified that the injuries, pain and limitations caused by this fall were resolved within seven months and that all of the plaintiff’s current problems and limitations were due to pre-existing conditions, including diabetes.  This testimony was supported in part by plaintiff’s primary care physician and his endocrinologist, who testified about plaintiff’s pre-existing conditions.

At trial, the plaintiff requested $2.6 million at closing.  The defense recommended an amount just under $200,000 to the jury. The jury returned a verdict of $424,502.80, suggesting the jury saw the trial much the same way our defense team did.

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