$122,500: On His Evening Walk Plaintiff Fell Into a Large Unlit Hole at His Residential Complex
June 9, 2010
CASE DESCRIPTION: Plaintiffs Paul and Linda F. were taking an evening walk in the vicinity of their neighborhood. The F’s attempted to enter a pedestrian gate of their complex, but the gate was jammed and they were unable to get it open. A car was entering the development and the car access gate was opened, a few feet from where the F’s were stranded. Because they were unable to get into the complex through the pedestrian gate, Paul F. attempted to navigate between the pedestrian path and the driveway, in an effort to enter the complex through the temporarily open gate at the driveway.
A large concrete pilaster that was originally part of the entry gate fencing had been knocked over by a truck delivering trusses for SW Construction approximately three weeks before Mr. F’s injury. As Paul F. attempted to reach the opened vehicle entrance, he fell into a large hole that was created by the uprooted pilaster and hidden by ground cover foliage. Paul F. was unable to see the hole until he had already fallen into it, as this incident occurred at approximately 6:35 p.m. and this portion of the gate was unlit. At the time of Mr. F’s injury, the hole created by the uprooted pilaster was completely unmarked, nor were there any warning signs indicating the hazard.
RESULT: $122,500.00 (Global settlement: $95,000 from Richmond, $25,000 from Graybeal, $2,500 from Truss)
A superintendent for Richmond oversaw the Georgetown complex during the time period. This incident occurred and he observed the delivery truck knock over the front gate pilaster. Richmond notified SW Construction that the truss delivery truck knocked over the pilaster, so SW Construction was put on notice of the dangerous condition.
A Richmond warranty representative who worked at the Georgetown complex also noticed the fallen pilaster soon after it was damaged. He inspected the area, and also noticed the hole created by the fallen pilaster. He also testified that he was aware that the pedestrian gate on that side of the entrance was inoperable.
TYPE OF CASE: Premises Liability
INJURIES: Paul F. suffered an avulsion fracture of his left thumb; right rotator cuff tendonitis; cervical spine strain. Paul F. has been unable to regain use of his right arm at the level and strength he had prior to the incident. He underwent surgery consisting of right shoulder arthroscopy, subacromial decompression, open subacromial decompression and rotator cuff repair of the right shoulder.
Darren O. Aitken, Esq.
AITKEN * AITKEN * COHN
For Plaintiffs – Paul and Linda F.
Sam McDermott, Esq.
WOOD, SMITH, HENNING & BERMAN LLP