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ARTICLE ID 192203

$________ – Premises Liability – Hazardous Premises – Railings/Handrails – Failure to place railings or other edge protection on ramp which turns left – Elderly plaintiff in wheelchair travels straight and falls eight inches to ground below – Tibia/fibula fracture – Leg weakness allegedly causes reduced independence.

Monmouth County, NJ

The elderly male plaintiff, age in his early 70s at the time, contended that the disability ramp leading from a side entrance/exit was dangerous and did not contain railings or other edge protections. The plaintiff, who was in his wheelchair, failed to remember that the ramp turned to the left as he exited the theater, continued straight, and fell from the edge of the ramp to the pavement eight inches below.

The plaintiff did not use the main entrance/exit which is level with the sidewalk and does not require a ramp and the defendants contended that the exit/entrance is for staff only, was blocked by a velvet rope, and is not intended for the general public. The defendant maintained that the plaintiff disregarded a directive by one of its employees to refrain from using the side exit. The plaintiff denied that this testimony was accurate and contended that the employee actually opened the door for him to exit. The defendant also contended that under the applicable codes, the rise not the drop-off dictated whether railings were needed and maintained that since the rise was only six inches, the ramp met all codes.

The plaintiff had named the theater and the contractor that had built the ramp. The plaintiff received discount tickets because of his disability and was also otherwise a beneficiary of a charitable purpose of the theater. The theater maintained that it was entitled to charitable immunity and its motion was granted.

The plaintiff contended that that although the fractures to the tibia and fibula healed, the residual weakness will permanently prevent him from shifting his lower body into the disabled van he was using at the time and reduced his independence. The defendant maintained that the plaintiff could accomplish this task by using upper body muscles. The case settled prior to trial for $________.

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