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DEFENDANT''S Trip and fall on wire basket holder in drug store - Toe laceration - Claimed aggravation of preexisting RSD - Lumbar disc herniation with radiculopathy.

Chester County

The plaintiff alleged the defendant drug store created a dangerous condition in its store by placing a wire basket holder behind a display where it could not be seen. The plaintiff claimed she struck her foot on the wire basket holder and fell. The defendant maintained that the wire basket holder was not dangerously placed. The defense also denied that the plaintiff fell as a result of the incident and disputed the injuries which she claimed to have sustained.

The plaintiff was a 40-year-old female at the time of the accident on August 23, ________. She contended that the wire basket holder in the defendant’s drug store, designed to hold small plastic shopping baskets, was placed in a dangerous location. The plaintiff claimed the basket holder was positioned next to a end- cap display box of styrofoam floating cylinders which were in excess of six foot in length.

The plaintiff testified that as she walked down the aisle, the basket holder was concealed by the display of styrofoam floaters, she struck her foot on the basket holder, her foot became entangled in the basket holder, she fell and twist her back. The plaintiff claimed the basket holder extended some two feet into the aisle. The plaintiff’s retail store safety expert opined that the basket holder was not properly placed and created a dangerous condition in the defendant’s store.

The plaintiff’s treating family physician testified that the plaintiff sustained a toe laceration of the left foot and a disc herniation at the L4-L5 level with left lumbar radiculopathy as a result of the fall. The plaintiff’s doctor testified that the lumbar disc herniation and radiculopathy was not evidenced on the plaintiff’s pre-accident MRI and EMG studies, but was shown on multiple post-accident tests. In addition, the plaintiff claimed that the fall exacerbated a preexisting RSD condition of her right knee.

The defendant argued that the basket holder was open and obvious and not improperly placed. The defendant called a store employee who testified she saw the plaintiff walk past the styrofoam display, heard the basket holder being scrapped against the floor and saw the plaintiff leaning against the shelving with blood coming from her foot. The employee testified that the plaintiff did not fall to the floor.

The defendant’s neurologist opined that the plaintiff’s EMG results had been misread by the plaintiff’s neurologist and actually showed no evidence of radiculopathy. This expert also opined that the plaintiff’s L4-L5 disc herniation was result of a preexisting degenerative condition documented in her medical record. The plaintiff’s doctor testified that the plaintiff sustained only a stubbed toe as a result of the incident.

The plaintiff had suffered a prior meniscus tear in a ________ work- related accident and underwent arthroscopic knee surgery. She was diagnosed with RSD and complained of lumbar radiculopathy related to the prior accident, although diagnostic tests were negative for radiculopathy and herniations at that time. However, the defense argued that an MRI from ________ indicated an L5-S1 herniation.

The jury found that the defendant was not negligent.

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