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Philadelphia County, PA

This action arose when the plaintiff was exiting the Langhorne, Pennsylvania, office building where she worked and tripped and fell down the stairs. The defendants included the owner, manager and maintenance company for the building. The plaintiff claimed that the fall resulted from the defendants’ negligence in failing to maintain the stairs, despite notice of a cracked and deteriorated condition. The defendants denied that the condition of the stairs was dangerous and claimed that the fall resulted from the plaintiff’s own negligence. The defense also disputed the extent and nature of the injuries which the plaintiff claimed to have sustained as a result of the fall.

The plaintiff, age 43 at the time, claimed that she was on the third floor of her place of employment and was walking down an interior cement staircase in November of ________. The plaintiff alleged that the top step was cracked and deteriorated, causing her to trip and fall some 15 to 18 steps.

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant building owner and property manager were put on notice of the defect in the stairs in ________, some two years before the plaintiff’s fall; and again in July of ________, approximately four months before the fall. The plaintiff claimed that a $________ estimate for repair of the stairs was given to the defendant owner and manager, but no repairs were authorized.

As a result of the fall, the plaintiff claimed that she suffered a closed head injury that resulted in left frontal ecchymosis (hemorrhage) and a brief loss of consciousness. Her neurological diagnosis included concussion, post-concussion syndrome, post-traumatic migraines accompanied by light and sound sensitivity, post-traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic depression, a left periorbital motor tic, blurred vision and a loss of peripheral vision in her left eye.

The plaintiff was additionally diagnosed with cervical disc herniations with impingement on the spinal cord, whiplash syndrome; multiple vertebral subluxation of the cervical spine, sprain and strain of the left shoulder, radiculopathy into her left arm with numbness and tingling in her left hand and bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome. The plaintiff underwent carpal tunnel release surgery on July 21, ________. She was treated with injection therapy for her neck and back and, in October of ________, she underwent a cervical fusion. Despite the surgery, the plaintiff complained that she continues to drop objects and suffers numbness in her right thumb.

The plaintiff claimed that she has been left with a significant decrease in her range-of-motion, impairment in her functional skills and abilities and chronic pain. The plaintiff alleged that her fall-related injuries rendered her totally disabled from employment. The plaintiff’s economist estimated the plaintiff’s total economic damages to be between $1.2 and $1.4 million. A worker’s compensation lien of $________ was asserted.

The defendants argued that the plaintiff was talking at the time of the fall, not using the handrail and failed to use due caution while walking down the stairs. The defendant’s engineer reported that the condition of the stairs was not a contributing factor in the plaintiff’s fall.

The defendants disputed the validity of the plaintiff’s neurological and neuropsychological diagnoses. Specifically, the defense denied that the fall resulted in a significant head or brain injury to the plaintiff and argued that there was no evidence of concussion. The defendants also disputed the severity of the plaintiff’s symptoms resulting from her orthopedic injuries. The defendant’s neurologist opined that the plaintiff’s carpal tunnel syndrome was not related to the fall. The defendant’s vocational expert reported that there were jobs available for the plaintiff and that she could return to work, if she so desired.The case was settled prior to trial for a total of $________. The defendant owner/property manager paid $________ and the co-defendant maintenance company contributed $________.

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