Gray•Duffy Obtains Favorable Settlement in Mediation in Trip and Fall Lawsuit for 13% of Damages Claimed

June 2013

Overview

Michael Eisenbaum of Gray•Duffy’s Encino office successfully achieved a $37,500 settlement on behalf of the firm’s client, the owner of an apartment complex. The plaintiff allegedly fell on the exterior stairs of the complex and sought damages in excess of $500,000 claiming that the fall caused a major foot injury which would require a complete reconstruction of her foot.

Discussion

Rose Hakim, et al. v. Dolphin Marina, Ltd.

The plaintiff, Rose Hakim, was a tenant in an apartment complex located in Marina Del Rey. Ms. Hakim was descending on the concrete stairs leading to the pool deck and claimed that she stumbled twisting her foot. Her injury was initially diagnosed and treated as a sprain, but then her condition deteriorated into a mid-foot dislocation and complete collapse of her arch, a condition known as a Lisfranc dislocation and Charcot Foot. The plaintiff claimed that she would need a complete surgical reconstruction of her foot or a possible amputation. She alleged that the owner of the apartment complex, Gray•Duffy’s client, was responsible because the steps did not meet building codes due to their varying riser heights, and that the landing had an excessive slope. She also claimed the railing did not extend to the end of the last step, therefore unable to hold on, contributing to the stumble.

As a result of discovery, Michael Eisenbaum of Gray•Duffy determined that the plaintiff had been a severe diabetic with numerous pre-existing problems to the same foot, such as Neuropathy and amputation of two of her toes. Moreover, since the initial hospital records did not show a dislocation after the incident, her condition was arguably unrelated. She developed the condition about six to seven weeks after the alleged incident. Based on the firm’s medical experts and opinion, it was possible that the incident triggered a sequence of events leading to the plaintiff’s current condition. On that basis, Gray•Duffy agreed to participate in mediation. The plaintiff made initial settlement demands of approximately $500,000, which was then reduced to $200,000, and ultimately, pursuant to the mediator’s proposal, the case was settled for $37,500, approximately 13 percent of the amount claimed as damages.

Please Note: This article is necessarily general in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice with respect to any particular case. Readers should consult with an attorney before taking any action affecting their interests.