Client Results, Firm News, General Negligence, Hospitality, Indiana

Plaintiff Rolls Dice on Personal Injury Dispute; Comes Up Snake Eyes on Verdict

March 15, 2023

Johnson & Bell Shareholder, Edward W. Hearn, and Associate, Catherine Breitweiser-Hurst, secured a favorable outcome for their client in a premises liability case involving a casino.  In this Lake County, Indiana case, plaintiff claimed she slipped in her hotel room due to wet carpeting in her room.  However, before her alleged fall, she had visited the hotel front desk to report the wet carpet issue.  Approximately one hour later, finding out that the issue had not yet been resolved, she returned to her room anyway, slipped and fell.  She claimed to have injured her back, wrist, and knee.  Plaintiff eventually had surgery on her knee, which she claimed was due to her fall-related injury.  The defense argued that its client was not negligent and was reasonably working to address the wet carpet issue. Moreover, defense argued that plaintiff had both notice of the wet floor issue and still chose to re-enter the room while fully aware of the wet carpet and associated risks.  Defense also argued that at most the alleged fall aggravated pre-existing conditions which resolved after a few months. 

Plaintiff claimed she had $200,000 in unpaid medical costs.  Plaintiff also claimed to have lost wages due to her injuries and sought costs for future medical expenses; however, the defense sought and was granted directed verdicts on both claims.  At closing, plaintiff asked the jury for $2 million in damages.  The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff, including $60,000 in total damages.  However, the jury found plaintiff was 50 percent at-fault, reducing her award to $30,000. 

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