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$________ GROSS Maritime law - Slip and fall on slippery substance on pool deck aboard cruise ship - Humerus fracture - Two surgeries performed - 35 percent comparative negligence found.

Miami-Dade County

The plaintiff was a female in her mid-60s who was a passenger on the defendant’s cruise ship when she claimed she slipped and fell as a result of an unknown substance present on the pool deck. The defendant denied that there was a slippery substance on the pool deck and contended that the plaintiff’s fall resulted when she tripped over a pool chair.

The plaintiff testified that she was walking on the pool deck when she stepped in a thick gooey substance which caused her to fall. She denied that a chair was involved in her fall. The plaintiff called three other passengers who were on the ship at the time. These witnesses all testified that the pool deck was very slippery.

The plaintiff’s orthopedic surgeon testified that the plaintiff sustained a butterfly fracture of the right humerus as a result of the fall. The plaintiff underwent two surgeries and was unable to use her dominant right arm for approximately a year during which time the arm remained strapped to her side. The plaintiff’s orthopedic surgeon opined that the plaintiff has been left with a permanent impairment of her right arm stemming from the fracture.

The plaintiff returned to her employment with a government defense contractor after the accident and did not make a claim for loss of future earnings.

The defendant denied that the pool deck was slippery. The defendant called two witnesses (other passengers aboard the ship) who testified that they heard noise from a deck chair and saw the plaintiff on the pool deck near the chair. The defendant’s witnesses testified that there was no slippery substance on the deck floor and the area of the fall was clean and dry. The defendant claimed that the plaintiff tripped over the chair as a result of failing to watch where she was walking.

The jury found the defendant 65% negligent and the plaintiff 35% comparatively negligent. The plaintiff was awarded $________ in damages, which was reduced to a net verdict of $________.

Posttrial motions are pending.

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