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DEFENDANTS' Alleged negligent failure to remove ice patch from sidewalk next to Walmart store - Slip and fall - Tibia/fibula fracture.

Hudson County

The plaintiff, approximately 50, contended that she slipped and fell on an ice patch on the sidewalk abutting the defendant’s store. The plaintiff contended that was accumulated because of a longstanding leak and that the defendant retail establishment had notice. The plaintiff’s engineer maintained that discoloration on this portion of the exterior store established a long-standing leaking condition.

The plaintiff also contended that under its written agreement with the snow removal contractor, the contractor was responsible for the sidewalk and that the agreement could not be modified orally. The plaintiff established that approximately two inches of snow fell the night before the approximate 3:30 p.m. incident, that the contractor had been at the premises to provide snow removal services and the plaintiff contended that it should have attended to this area.

The snow removal contractor maintained that in the approximate four-year period it was doing business with the retail establishment, the employees of the store had attended to the sidewalk and the contractor maintained that the course of conduct took precedence over the language in the written contract. The defendant store denied that a leak was occurring and contended that the ice formed as a result of icicles melting and the water freezing. The defendants contended that the cause of the incident was the negligent failure of the plaintiff to make adequate observations.

The plaintiff maintained that she sustained severe tibia/fibula fractures that required both the use of an external fixation device and open surgery with the insertion of hardware which remains. The plaintiff contended that she will suffer permanent pain and restriction.

The jury found that the contractor was not negligent, the retail establishment was 25% negligent and that the plaintiff was 75% comparatively negligent.

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