On August 30, 2012, John Hicks obtained a defense verdict for a Kansas City restaurant in a premises liability case. The plaintiff was a 62 year-old female who alleged that she tripped on a step leading into defendant’s place of business. Plaintiff suffered a fracture and dislocation of her left shoulder during the fall requiring surgery and five months of rehabilitation and follow up treatment.
At trial plaintiff argued that the step was dangerous because it was located in the threshold of the doorway and was camouflaged by virtue of being painted the same color as the building. Plaintiff further argued that the step was dangerous because it was uneven. However, on cross-examination plaintiff admitted that she saw the step and managed to get her first foot over the step and that it was her trailing foot that was caught on the step. Plaintiff’s only eye-witnessed admitted that plaintiff was wearing flip flops at the time she fell.
The defense introduced evidence that plaintiff had a long history of falls and balance issues that dated back to a surgical removal of a brain tumor in 2004. One of the previous falls had occurred just ten days before plaintiff fell at defendant’s place of business.
Plaintiff incurred $29,366.83 in medical bills. Relying on Martinez v. Milburn Enterprises, Inc., 233 P.3d 205 (Kan. 2010) defendant was prepared to offer evidence of the reduced amount of $9,125.06 which was the amount accepted after insurance write-offs. As a result plaintiff elected not to offer any evidence regarding the cost of the medical treatment and informed the jury that she was only seeking damages related to her pain and suffering.
On August 29, 2012, the jury deliberated for 32 minutes and returned a verdict for the defense.