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Premises Liability – Hazardous premises – Defendant homeowner and mother of plaintiff fails to replace handrail on staircase after removing railing – son attempting to bring bathtub down stairs slips and reaches for handrail, falling down with tub landing on his foot – Metatarsal Fracture – Alleged traumatically induced shoulder bursitis.

Ocean County, NJ

The plaintiff, the son of the defendant homeowner, contended that as he was attempting to move a ________ pound cast iron tub, he slipped and when he instinctively reached for the handrail, he fell down the stairs. The defendant had had previously removed and never replaced the handrail. The plaintiff’s engineer testified it was a violation of local ordinances for defendant to not have a handrail.

The tub landed on the foot, causing an open fracture to the third metatarsal and right dominant shoulder bursitis which, the plaintiff’s orthopedic surgeon concluded, would require surgery.

The defendant maintained that the lack of a handrail was not a proximate cause of the accident. The defendant further asserted that the plaintiff was negligent in trying to move the tub alone and in walking backwards down the steps as he attempted to remove it.

The defendant claimed that the injuries essentially resolved and denied that shoulder surgery will be necessary.The jury found that the defendant was 60% negligent, the plaintiff 40% negligent, and a no cause verdict was entered.

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