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DEFENDANT’S Premises liability – Trip and fall at county college – Alleged failure to maintain exterior stairs – Inadequate lighting – Foot fracture with surgery.

Miami-Dade County, FL

The plaintiff was an 18-year-old female student at the defendant Miami-Dade County College on February 1, ________. She claimed that she tripped and fell as a result of the defendant’s failure to safely maintain exterior concrete steps on the premises. The defendant disputed the plaintiff’s version of how the incident occurred.

The plaintiff testified that she was descending the exterior concrete stairs of a classroom building after dark, when her toe caught in a defect in the sixth from the bottom step, causing her to fall. The plaintiff also alleged that there was a lack of lighting at the location, and introduced photographs, taken by her boyfriend, depicting the condition of the step in question at the time of the fall.

The plaintiff was diagnosed with a foot fracture as a result of the fall. She underwent open reduction and internal fixation of the fracture, and complained of continuing pain and difficulty driving and walking. The plaintiff’s podiatrist opined that the plaintiff may need shoe orthotics for the remainder of her life, and that there was a 15% to 20% chance that she may need fusion surgery in the future.

The defense counsel introduced an exemplar scale model of three steps on which the plaintiff was asked to stand, and argued that the plaintiff’s toe could not possibly have caught on the step in the manner she described, because her foot would not fit on the step.In addition, the defendant argued that the plaintiff was limping in the office of the defendant’s podiatrist, but was subsequently shown walking with no limp in surveillance video taken 12 days later.The jury found no negligence on the part of the defendant, which was a legal cause of injury to the plaintiff.

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