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Premises liability - Trip and fall on oriental rug in retail store - Knee contusions with resulting cellulitis.

Philadelphia County

The plaintiff claimed that an oriental area rug in the defendant’s specialty shop bunched up under her feet and caused her to trip and fall. The defendant denied that the rug was dangerous and contended that the plaintiff’s fall was related to her preexisting ambulation problems.

The plaintiff was a 62-year-old female at the time of the fall. She testified that she was entering the defendant’s store, when her foot slipped under the oriental rug, the rug bunched up and she fell forward. The plaintiff’s engineer opined that the rug was a tripping hazard because it was not properly secured to the floor and that his testing showed it to bunch up under foot. This expert also opined that the rug violated the city building maintenance code.

The plaintiff’s orthopedic surgeon testified that the plaintiff suffered severe contusions and resulting cellulitis to her knee as a result of the fall. The plaintiff’s orthopedic surgeon opined that the plaintiff has been left with a permanent knee injury.

The defense maintained that there was nothing wrong with the 9 x 11 foot area rug and that it was properly secured to the floor. The defendant’s engineer testified that the rug was safe and did not violate any applicable codes. The defense argued that the plaintiff had a long standing history of ambulatory problems and was prone to shuffle her feet.

The jury found that the defendant was not negligent. Post-trial motions are pending.

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