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Matthew L. Johnson Receives Favorable Result in Premises Liability Case

November 9, 2012

Johnson & Bell Shareholder, Matt Johnson, obtained a favorable result for a national restaurant chain in a premises liability case. Plaintiff claimed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) stemming from a fall inside a restaurant which occurred while plaintiff, a 39-year-old beer delivery man, was transporting 2 kegs of beer plus a cylinder of beer (300 + lbs.) up a ramp inside the restaurant. Plaintiff and his wife claimed that plaintiff was unable to find employment since the date of the occurrence (January 2004) and that he lived with constant pain and required a cane to walk. Plaintiff's attorneys asked the jury to award damages in excess of $2.8 million. Plaintiff argued that the slip-and-fall accident was caused due to water that the restaurant manager admitted that he tracked in from outside after shoveling snow and that he did not clean up prior to the time plaintiff attempted to enter the restaurant. The defense argued that plaintiff was contributorily negligent for transporting the 2+ kegs of beer up a ramp, backward, in inclement weather, in violation of his employer's policy which prohibited the transport of more than one keg at a time for safety reasons. The restaurant also filed a third-party action against plaintiff's employer for failing to properly train and supervise plaintiff. At the conclusion of trial, the jury awarded plaintiff $200,000. This was reduced to $100,000 based upon the jury's finding that plaintiff was 50% contributorily negligent. As to the third-party claim, the jury found that plaintiff's employer was 30% negligent, thus the employer will have to contribute $30,000 to plaintiff's judgment. Plaintiffs have filed a post-trial motion. Prior to trial, plaintiffs demanded $6 million to settle the case. Michael and Michelle Mielak v. TGI Friday's, Inc., v. Skokie Valley Beverage Company, Court No. 06 L 000953.

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