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ARTICLE ID 195339

$________ – PREMISES LIABILITY – HAZARDOUS PREMISES – CEILING TILE IN RESTAURANT SUDDENLY FALLS ON PLAINTIFF PATRON AS SHE IS SITTING AT TABLE – FACET JOINT SYNDROME DIFFICULT TO DETECT ON MRI AND DISCOGRAM AND DIAGNOSIS MADE AFTER FACET JOINT INJECTION PROVIDES TEMPORARY RELIEF.

Somerset County, NJ

In this premises liability action, the plaintiff, in her early 20s, contended that as she was sitting at a table in the defendant’s restaurant, she was suddenly struck in the head and dominant right shoulder by a ceiling tile that dislodged and fell. The plaintiff maintained that she developed immediate pain and difficulties in her shoulder, that arthroscopic surgery to remove scar tissue was largely unsuccessful, and that facet joint syndrome – involving the formation of arthritis – which was difficult to detect on studies such as an MRI and discogram – was diagnosed after a facet joint injection provided significant, but temporary relief. There was no claim for a long-term residual injury stemming from a closed head trauma.

The plaintiff established that she was suddenly struck by the falling object, and that the jury should be instructed regarding Res Ipsa Loquitor.

The plaintiff related that she developed very significant pain and limitation of motion of the right arm and shoulder. The plaintiff’s medical proofs reflected that the severe pain continued, despite arthroscopic surgery in which scar tissue was excised from the clavicle area. The plaintiff maintained that facet joint syndrome was suspected, and asserted that it is difficult to confirm this condition through MRI and a discogram. Although not detected by these tests, it became evident after a facet joint injection provided significant, but temporary relief, that the plaintiff suffered from this condition.

The plaintiff maintained that she will permanently suffer extensive pain and difficulties using her right arm, and presented evidence of a life care plan of approximately $________. The plaintiff included physician and physical therapy visits, the cost of medication, and household help through a lengthy life expectancy.

The plaintiff works as a teacher of autistic students, and she indicated that she works, despite extensive pain and difficulties.

The defendant did not dispute that the plaintiff suffered injury to the facet joint, or that she will suffer long-term symptoms and need some care in the future. The defendant produced a life care plan in discovery of approximately $________, and denied that the plaintiff will require household help. The defendant further maintained that the cost of medical care, medication, and physical therapy will be significantly less than claimed by the plaintiff.The case settled prior to trial for $________.

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