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Swing, Farris Secure Defense Verdict in Premises Liability Case Seeking $700K in Damages

April 19, 2022

Johnson & Bell Shareholder, Susan K. Swing, and Associate, Kyle J. Farris, secured a defense verdict in a four-day jury trial in Lake County, Indiana.  In this case, plaintiff arrived at the hospital for a scheduled knee replacement surgery. While walking through the entryway of the hospital, she tripped on a floormat and broke her shoulder, requiring her to forego her knee surgery for immediate reverse shoulder surgery. Despite Medicare agreeing to “write off” her medical bills for the shoulder surgery, plaintiff filed a lawsuit. 

In her lawsuit, plaintiff alleged premises liability against the hospital and its maintenance company, which the plaintiff argued provided the hospital with a defective floormat.  The fall itself was captured on the hospital’s security camera.  Despite plaintiff’s counsel’s attempts to use screen grabs of the video to persuade the jury that the floormat was turned up and that plaintiff’s foot was underneath it causing her to trip, Swing and Farris presented witnesses whose testimony established proper maintenance and servicing of the floormat and proper maintenance of the premises.  They also employed a witness who synchronized two security videos taken from differing angles to show the event from both angles simultaneously.  They also used still shots from the videos to demonstrate the absence of any defect in the carpet runner.  At closing, plaintiff asked the jury for $680,000 in damages.  After deliberating for 1.5 hours, the jury returned a verdict for the defense. Swing and Farris defended both the hospital and the maintenance provider at trial.

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