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ARTICLE ID 194778

$________ GROSS Premises liability – Failure to maintain restaurant parking lot – Trip and fall – Rotator cuff tear – Arthroscopic surgery performed – 75% comparative negligence found.

Pinellas County, FL

The plaintiff alleged that she was caused to trip and fall in the parking lot of the defendant’s restaurant as a result of the defendant’s failure to maintain the premises in a safe condition. The defendant argued that the condition was open and obvious, and that the fall was caused by the plaintiff’s own inattentiveness.

The plaintiff was a female in her mid-60s at the time in question. She testified that she was walking from her vehicle to an outside area of the defendant’s restaurant, with two small dogs on leashes. The plaintiff contended that she tripped and fell as a result of a three-inch deep hole in the asphalt surface of the parking lot. The plaintiff’s husband corroborated the plaintiff’s version of the event.

The plaintiff was diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear, which her orthopedic surgeon causally related to the fall, and underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery. The plaintiff also called an orthopedic surgeon retained by the defendant, who concurred that the plaintiff’s shoulder condition was causally related to the fall.

The defendant argued that an emergency room report indicated that the plaintiff was carrying her dogs at the time of the fall. The defense contended that the plaintiff was distracted, and was not watching where she was walking.

The defendant’s radiologist testified that the plaintiff’s rotator cuff tear was consistent with the natural aging process, and was degenerative in nature.The jury found the defendant 25% negligent and the plaintiff 75% comparatively negligent. The plaintiff was awarded $________ in damages, including $________ in past medical expenses. The verdict was reduced to a net award of $________. The plaintiff’s post-trial motion for new trial was denied, and a motion for costs is pending.

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