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ARTICLE ID 200094

$________ – LANDLORD NEGLIGENCE – DEFENDANT LANDLORD OF BUILDING IN WHICH PLAINTIFF WORKED NEGLIGENTLY COVERS EXISTING DRAIN WITH PLYWOOD – PLYWOOD BECOMES MOLDY AND LOOSE – PLAINTIFF STEPS ON IT TWO DAYS AFTER HURRICANE, CAUSING FALL – SLIP AND FALL ON LOOSE, CARPET-COVERED PLYWOOD – SPINAL CORD INJURY – PLAINTIFF UNABLE TO WALK – URINARY ISSUES – UNWITNESSED ACCIDENT – SURGICAL HARDWARE INSTALLATION OF SPINAL CORD STIMULATOR – NO PAST WAGE LOSS CLAIM.

Ocean County, NJ

This action involved a male 48-year-old plaintiff who had been employed by a tenant involved in raising money and awareness on clean water issues, and the plaintiff had been working as a "canvasser" for approximately one month. The premises was a hotel in which the upper portion was used for guests and the lower portion used for office space. The plaintiff contended that several years earlier, the defendant landlord had decided to construct a vestibule, and in doing so, negligently covered an existing drain with plywood that in turn was covered by indoor/outdoor carpet. The plaintiff maintained that over time, the plywood became moldy and insecure. He contended that as he walked over it on the day in question, it shifted and he fell. The defendant denied that the area was dangerous and pointed out that many people had walked over it without incident.

The plaintiff countered that on the day in question, he stepped in just the right location to cause the plywood to pivot and to twist and fall. The defendant further presented the employer who indicated that after the incident, the plaintiff told him on the day of the alleged fall that he fell down the outside stairs leading to the vestibule and did not indicate that he fell in the vestibule itself. The plaintiff countered that when the employer subsequently submitted his report to the defendant, he did not mention the area in which the plaintiff indicated he had fallen, and maintained that it was likely that had the plaintiff made such a statement, the employer would have made such a mention in the report. The defendant also argued that the jury should be aware of prior convictions on the issue of credibility and the defendant argued that the plaintiff’s description of the unwitnessed accident should not be believed.

The plaintiff was brought to the hospital and ultimately admitted for 30 days at Paul Kimball Hospital. The diagnostic tests essentially came back normal during his stay. He was provided a differential diagnosis of myelopathy vs. conversion disorder. The plaintiff has not been able to walk and contended that such a deficit is permanent. The plaintiff also developed injuries in the urinary system and has been diagnosed with decreased bladder compliance with uninhibited detrusor contraction and inability to void spontaneously, spinal cord injury with transverse myelitis, and spinal artery occlusion.

The plaintiff maintained that UDE testing reflected objective findings that were indicative of a spinal cord injury. The plaintiff’s pain management physician implanted a spinal cord stimulator to control the pain and help wean him off narcotic pain medication. The plaintiff did not make a lost wage claim as his work history was not strong enough to support such a claim and precluded him from applying for Social Security Disability benefits. The plaintiff contended that he will require extensive medical and household care in the future.The defendant had $________ in coverage. The case settled prior to trial for $________.

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