As a lawyer, I believe it’s a part of my job to remain on top of cases that fall under the types of law I practice. This is especially true for cases that happen in my area. While I may not be representing the clients on either side, the outcomes of these cases may still affect how I would go about representing one of my clients in the future. Therefore, it’s not surprising that I would be interested in this case about a Southampton woman who won a slip-and-fall case against a Philadelphia Pathmark. Not only did she win, but she won to the tune of a six-figure verdict.
Here are the details for this case from PennRecord.com:
Barbara Ferguson, who resides in Southampton, Pa., filed suit earlier this year against the Pathmark on Franklin Mills Boulevard, where she contended she injured herself after she tripped and fell over a box that was being used as a makeshift doorstop at the time to prop open a large office door at the grocery store.
The complaint, initially filed at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas but subsequently removed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, accused Pathmark of negligence for creating a dangerous and hazardous condition to employees and the public.
On Jan. 24, 2011, Ferguson went into the back office at the Pathmark to obtain paperwork, and when she was leaving the office for the supermarket’s main floor she tripped and fell over the box that was acting as a doorstop, the suit said.
While court records show the jury verdict to be nearly $793,000, a Law Weekly report states that Ferguson was actually awarded in excess of $834,000 for medical expenses and lost wages.
While Pathmark no doubt argued the box should have been obvious to anyone paying attention to where they were going, the jury sided with the plaintiff. Using a box as a doorstop was a hazard clearly created by a store employee unlike a spill which may have been caused by a shopper and which the plaintiff must show the store had notice of. Once the jury decided Pathmark was responsible for the hazard the caused the plaintiff’s injury, they also decided the woman’s injuries caused by the accident were serious and would require ongoing care. It is no surprise the medical care is expensive and when you add it up over the remainder of the person’s life, the numbers get large very quickly.
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