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Undemarcated gap between platform and wall - Plaintiff steps off 24-inch stage and falls into gap - Injury to knee - Total knee replacement.

Orange County, California

The male plaintiff, age 37 at the time of injury, brought suit against the defendant Marriott Hotel, alleging that the defendant permitted a dangerous condition to remain on the premises in the nature of a gap between the wall at the back of the stage and the platform below. The plaintiff alleged that he inadvertently stepped into the gap as he stepped down from the stage, twisting his body and severely injuring his knee.

The subject accident occurred on June 16, ________, when the plaintiff stepped off a 24-inch stage and in doing so twisted his body as he fell to the platform, banging his right knee on the platform. The plaintiff was attending a Cystic Fibrosis Foundation charity dinner at the Anaheim Marriott Hotel and was seated at one of the "head tables." There was a gap between the platform and the wall at the back of the stage, measuring between seven and 11 inches wide. The plaintiff stepped off the stage and into the gap.

The plaintiff testified that the room was dark and because there was a black curtain and black carpeting on the stage, it was very difficult to see the gap. The plaintiff contended that the defendant Marriott was negligent in failing to push the platform all the way up against the wall and in leaving a gap present. The defendant Marriott Hotel’s general manager admitted that the gap was dangerous and should not have been there, in his opinion.

The plaintiff’s witnesses testified that the plaintiff fell down hard and that there were no lights delineating the area. The plaintiff claimed that as a result of the incident, he incurred over $________ in medical bills, including the cost of a right knee osteotomy and right total knee replacement with the insertion of an artificial prosthetic device as well as an attempted percutaneous discectomy on his back for a herniated disc at L5-S1. The plaintiff developed left knee cellulitis and an infection which required hospitalization for four to five days. At the time of the accident, the plaintiff was a financial director at Don Kott Ford. He alleged that he was forced to give up this position due to the injuries suffered. The plaintiff claimed lost wages of $________ and claimed future lost earning capacity. Although the plaintiff obtained a job earning $________ following the accident, his pre-accident income was $________ per year.

The defendant contended that the plaintiff should have seen the gap and that it was an insignificant problem that did not rise to p 7 3 the level of negligence. The defendant made a notion for mistrial based upon the plaintiff stating that he almost took his life because of the condition in which the injuries left him. The defendant’s motion for mistrial was granted and thereafter the defendant withdrew the motion and proceeded with the trial.

The plaintiff demanded $1.5 million increased to $2.5 million at trial. The defendant offered $________ with an indication that it would pay $________. The jury found for the defendant.

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