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DEFENDANT’S Premises liability – Fall down – Alleged negligent installation of brick paver on defendant restaurant’s walkway – Plaintiff trips and falls carrying granddaughter and her face strikes adjacent fence – Liability only – Incident captured on videotape.

Pinellas County, FL

The plaintiff, in her late 50s, contended that the defendant restaurant negligently installed pavers in its walkway, resulting in a dangerous height differential which the plaintiff’s engineer maintained violated the applicable code. The plaintiff asserted that as a result, she tripped and fell face first into an adjacent fence. The incident was captured on video and the video depicted that at the time of the fall, the plaintiff was carrying her granddaughter on her right hip and carrying a large purse on her left shoulder.

The plaintiff’s husband, a police officer who was present, testified at trial in uniform that there should have been a warning and that the brick-paver walkway was uneven. The defendant’s construction expert concluded that the brick-paver walkway was correctly installed and did not violate any codes.

The defendant asserted that the cause of the fall was the failure of the plaintiff to recognize the transition from the black asphalt to the open and obvious brick-paver walkway. The defendant further claimed that there were no other falls on the brick-paver walkway before or after the incident, and no modifications were made to the walkway following the fall. The defendant also maintained that people using walkers, wheelchairs, and prosthetic legs safely ambulated the brick-paver walkway before and after the plaintiff’s fall.The jury found for the defendant.

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