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Premises liability – Fall down –Elderly beauty salon patron trips and falls as she is leaving hair salon – Plaintiff contends outside stair rendered dangerous because of absence of handrail, excessive height of riser, inadequate depth of tread and excessive slope of door saddle – Alleged aggravation of rotator cuff tear which prompted surgery three weeks earlier – Laceration and approximate two and a-half inch scar above eye.

Monmouth County, NJ

The plaintiff patron of the defendant’s premises was leaving a hair salon and contended that the outside stair, consisting of one step, was hazardous, causing her to trip and fall. The plaintiff’s engineer asserted that the stair was dangerous because of the absence of a handrail, the excessive riser height, the insufficiently deep tread and because the door saddle was at an excessive slope. The building was constructed in ________, and no code provisions applied.

The plaintiff related that she opened the door, began to take a step and fell. The defendant pointed out that the plaintiff could not identify what caused the fall and maintained it was impossible for the plaintiff’s expert to identify which of the hazards he identified was the proximate cause of her fall. The defendant further contended that although the plaintiff testified that she had only been to the hair salon on one prior occasion, she advised her expert that she had been a patron for approximately one and a-half years, going to that salon about every five to six weeks.

The plaintiff claimed that she suffered an aggravation of a tear of the left rotator cuff tear that prompted surgery three weeks earlier. The plaintiff also sustained a laceration above the eye which left an approximate two and -half inch scar.

The defendant countered that the plaintiff continued the same therapy and visits with her orthopedic surgeon and was discharged from his care with an excellent result just two months after the fall. The defendant also pointed to evidence that the plaintiff did not make complaints of additional shoulder pain until approximately four months after that discharge from the orthopedist’s care.The jury found that the defendant was not negligent.

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