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Homeowner’s Negligence – Defendant homeowner's deck containing step-up eating area is allegedly dangerous because of absence of warning/visual cues for step – Plaintiff trips and falls when attempting to walk down after eating lunch at graduation party – Severely fractured shoulder – CRPS.

Union County, NJ

The 55-year-old plaintiff, a social guest at an afternoon graduation party hosted by the defendant, her brother-in-law, maintained that the backyard deck contained an approximately 15 foot long eating area that was situated above one step, which caused her to trip and fall. The plaintiff contended that the defendant should have either painted the step a yellow color or place other visual cues such as a planter or statue next to the step to remind individuals of the potential hazard. The defendant maintained that the step was open and obvious and that the cause of the fall was the negligence of the plaintiff who failed to remember that it was present.

The plaintiff maintained that she forgot about the step and that after finishing her lunch, she tripped and fell over the step, suffering a severe fracture to the left, dominant shoulder. The plaintiff contended that within approximately one year of the incident, she developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and that she will permanently suffer particularly extensive pain, loss of use as well as color and temperature changes.

The plaintiff, who did not work outside of the home, maintained that she has great difficulties performing everyday activities and housework that are permanent in nature. The plaintiff also related that she had formerly been an avid swimmer and has been required to give up such activity.The jury found for the defendant homeowner.

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