I recently represented a client who slipped and fell on water in front of the beverage dispensing machines in the food court at a BJ’s Wholesale Club. The water had accumulated as a result of a damaged dispensing machine.

The Defendant acknowledged they were aware of the problem with the dispensing machine but asserted they had taken proper steps to warn customers. Specifically, the Defendant asserted they had placed a warning cone in the area. The Plaintiff disputed that the warning cone was visible and argued the cone was shoved under the counter area and provided no warning to the Plaintiff of the dangerous condition on the floor.  The store had a videotape of the area at the time of the fall this tape was viewed by the jury.

My client, complaining of right knee pain, saw an orthopedic surgeon and was diagnosed with a lateral meniscus tear requiring an arthroscopic procedure. Following the procedure, she did not have any ongoing knee complaints. The orthopedist also diagnosed a trochanteric bursitis which following two injections resolved. Finally, my client was diagnosed with sciatica which resulted in mild ongoing pain complaints.

The defense contested both liability and damages. On liability, the defense argued that the presence of the warning cone was sufficient to warn customers and my client’s own inattentiveness was the cause of her fall. On damages, the defense medical expert acknowledged the meniscus tear and that the arthroscopic procedure was appropriate. They disputed other diagnosis and no claimed no residual problems.

After a 3-day trial, the jury found the Defendant 70% negligent and the Plaintiff 30%, and therefore awarded my client damages of $125,000.