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Alleged dangerous step leading to hot tub at defendant bed & breakfast commercial premises - Plaintiff falls as she is attempting to retrieve shirt which was left to dry on curtain rod - Fractured shoulder.

Monmouth County, New Jersey

The plaintiff in this premises liability action was a guest at the defendant bed & breakfast facility near the New Jersey shore. The plaintiff contended that the step leading to the hot tub in the bathroom was dangerous because it was of insufficient depth and did not contain anti-slip materials.

The plaintiff, who related that she had hung a shirt to dry over the rod of the tub curtain the morning before, indicated that she awoke at approximately 4:00 A.M. perspiring profusely, and that as she went to change to the shirt hanging over the hot tub curtain, she fell on the stair. The plaintiff contended that she and her friend had not showered since the morning earlier and that the step was probably wet from the shore humidity.

The plaintiff maintained that she suffered a fracture to the nondominant shoulder which required surgery and which will permanently cause pain and limitations. The plaintiff contended that she was previously active and has been forced to give up a favored activity of golf.

The defendant denied that the area was dangerous or that any codes were violated. The defendant pointed out that the plaintiff had previously indicated that she did not turn on the bathroom light because she did not want to wake her friend and that she had believed that the ambient light entering through the window would be sufficient. The defendant also contended that the plaintiff had acknowledged that she was not fully awake and contended that her failure to be more careful was the sole cause of the incident. The defendant further pointed out that the plaintiff had stayed in this room the previous summer, had specifically requested the same room and had been a guest for five days when the incident occurred.

The jury found that the defendant was not negligent.

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