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GROSS VERDICTS OF $________ FOR PAIN AND SUFFERING, $________ TO SPOUSE AND $________ FOR MEDICAL EXPENSES Failure of fast food restaurant to tighten bolt on pedestal chair – Fall – Causally related lumbar, cervical herniations, and knee injuries requiring surgery – contends injuries limited to bruising to leg and arm when chair tilts as plaintiff strikes adjacent table – Gross awards reduced by comparative negligence.

Bergen County, NJ

The plaintiff patron of the defendant fast food restaurant contended that the defendant negligently failed to adequately tighten a bolt to the permanently affixed pedicle chair, resulting in the chair failing as she sat in it. The police arrived and determined a bolt was missing from the seats base destabilizing the seat. The plaintiff maintained that she suffered right knee, lumbar and cervical injuries, all of which required surgery and she maintained that she will permanently suffer pain and limitations. The plaintiff introduced evidence of approximately $________ in medical bills. The defendant maintained that the injuries were limited to contusions on the right arm and a bruise on the left leg that resolved and that any other conditions were not causally related.

The defendant pointed out that at the emergency room; the plaintiff’s complaints were limited to bruising on the arm and leg. The plaintiff, a Korean immigrant, suggested that there was a language barrier which prevented her from communicating her complaints at the E.R., that she was in complete shock, arrived on a stretcher and that her husband and son were not permitted into the E.R. area. The defendant contended that the plaintiff had signed the discharge sheet reflecting such bruising only. The plaintiff denied it was her signature and indicated due to severe swelling in her right hand that she was unable to grip a pen. The defendant countered that the plaintiff was left hand dominant.

The defendant further contended that the E.R. records and the testimony of E.R. personnel indicated that plaintiff arrived ambulatory, was in no acute distress aside from the right arm, was accompanied by her son, and was assisted by a translation service provided by the hospital in which patients communicated to treating personnel via a telephonic system in which an interpreter is utilized. The defendant’s orthopedist and radiologist also maintained that MRIs had taken approximately two months later showed no signs of a recent trauma and has indications of long standing degenerative disc disease. The defendant further contended that the jury should consider that the plaintiff did not actually fall to the ground, but struck an adjacent table when the chair tilted.The jury found the defendant 75% negligent, the plaintiff 25% negligent and rendered a gross award of $________ for pain and suffering, $________ per quod and $________.for medical bills. The plaintiffs demand was $________. The defendant’s pretrial offer was $________.

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