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$________ GROSS Premises liability - Failure to maintain apartment balcony railing - Fall from second story balcony - Cervical fracture - Finger fracture - Dental injuries - 50% comparative negligence found.

Miami-Dade County, FL

The plaintiff was a tenant in a second-floor apartment owned by the defendant when she fell off the balcony and sustained injuries. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant was negligent in failing to maintain the balcony railing in a safe condition, thereby causing the plaintiff’s fall. The defendant argued that the balcony railing was removed by movers without the defendant’s knowledge or permission and the movers failed to properly reattach it.

The plaintiff, age 45 at the time, testified that she had moved into the defendant’s ten unit apartment building several days before the fall. She claimed that she was leaning against the balcony railing when the railing gave way and she fell. The plaintiff’s engineering expert testified that the attachments supporting the railing violated applicable building codes. The plaintiff claimed that the railing was dangerous.

The plaintiff fell from the balcony onto a parked car and then hit the street. She was diagnosed with a non-surgical cervical fracture, finger fracture and four broken teeth as a result of the fall.

The defendant contended that the plaintiff had directed her moving company to take down the balcony railing to move furniture into the apartment and the movers had negligently reinstalled the railing. The defense argued that the railing was initially sound before it was tampered with by the movers. The defense also argued that the plaintiff conducted a thorough walk-through with her daughter and realtor on the day that she moved into the apartment, and did not have any complaints about the balcony or the balcony railings.

The jury found the defendant 50% negligent and the plaintiff 50% comparatively negligent. The plaintiff was awarded $________ in damages which was reduced to a net award of $________.

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