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$________ Premises Liability – Fall down by plaintiff tenant – Hazardous Premises – Dangerous stairway of defendant homeowners – Absence of handrails – Inadequate doorway – Cervical Fracture requiring fusion.

Hunterdon County, NJ

The plaintiff tenant of the home owned by the defendant in his late-50s, contended that when he went to go down to the basement, he opened the basement door which opened inward, attempted to find a wall switch to turn on the basement lights, reached for the handrail which was not located near the top of the stairs, and fell down the stairway.

The plaintiff’s expert, the site inspector, revealed multiple indications that the structural components that surrounded the stairway had been cut away and likely rearranged some time before the plaintiff’s fall. Such work would have rendered the provisions of the contemporaneous building codes adopted by the state applicable. The defendant denied any such prior work was performed and contended that the subject doorway and basement stairway violated no known applicable codes or standards. Current building code requirements for new stairway construction provided that contemporary or subsequent codes would not be applied retroactively to pre-existing construction. The defendant denied any and all construction or maintenance to the stairway.

The defendant also denied the accident happened as the plaintiff claimed. The defendant alleged multiple medical records indicated that the plaintiff was intoxicated and sleep walking at the time of the accident. He suffered a C4-C5 fracture and anterior subluxation of C3-C4 requiring C3 to C6 posterior cervical laminectomy and elevation of depressed fracture and C3 – C6 posterior cervical fusion with lateral mass screws and local autograft.

The plaintiff maintained that he will permanently suffer pain and limitations in all of the areas injured in the fall.The case settled prior to trial for $________

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