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ARTICLE ID 8581

$________ Trip and fall on interior stairs - Shoulder fracture - Rotator cuff tendinitis.

Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania

The plaintiff contended the defendant, a wholesale fabric store, allowed a dangerous condition on its premises in the form of a steep, wooden interior staircase. The plaintiff slipped and fell down the stairs. The defendants included the business as well as two individual property owners. The defendants denied the stairs were dangerous and argued that the plaintiff was comparatively negligent.

The female plaintiff was 51 years old at the time of the fall.

She claimed she had difficulty walking up the defendants’ interior stairs because they were steep and narrow. The plaintiff alleged she was walking down the stairs, when her foot stepped on a riser which was not big enough to hold her foot, she slipped and fell down the stairs.

The plaintiff’s expert architect/engineer reported that the steps lacked anti-skid covering, there was a defect in the tread to riser ratio, variations in the individual treads and risers (they were not uniform) and insufficient illumination at the site. The plaintiff’s expert contended that the stairs violated the applicable building codes.

The plaintiff’s physicians diagnosed shoulder injuries including a non-displaced right greater tuberosity fracture and fractures of the right humeral head and right glenoid as a result of the fall. In addition, the plaintiff claimed to suffer right rotator cuff tendinitis causally related to the fall. She complained of ongoing shoulder discomfort and her physician opined there is a possibility of future shoulder surgery.

@TITLEHD = DEFENDANTS’ CONTENTIONS The defendant argued the stairs were constructed before enactment of the building code and therefore the provisions cited by the plaintiff’s expert were not applicable. In addition, the defense contended that the type of light meter used by the plaintiff’s expert was outdated and his results regarding illumination were invalid.

The defense stressed that the plaintiff had shopped at the defendants’ store previously and was familiar with the condition of the stairs. The defendant also claimed the plaintiff had made a good recovery from the injuries sustained in the fall.

The case settled for $________ after a Philadelphia Masters Conference.

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