FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 23, 2006
Contact: Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
305-670-1101 Ext. 123
QPWB SECURES LATEST DEFENSE VERDICT IN PREMISES LIABILITY MATTER
MIAMI, FL – A Miami jury returned a defense verdict in favor of DITU Inc. d/b/a El Lido Bakery in a case involving a slip and fall. The plaintiff, 71-year-old Ana Leon, suffered a fractured left hip and left elbow as she fell while entering the bakery. Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. (QPWB) trial attorneys Edward C. Prieto and Jose E. Bosch tried the case before Judge Robert Scola of the 11th Judicial Circuit in Miami, Dade County. Brent Probinksy and Leo J. Spivack represented Plaintiffs Ana Leon and her husband, 73-year-old Evelio Leon.
The plaintiffs contended that necessary precautions were not taken to avoid falls. Asserting to the establishment’s failure to maintain the floors dry after a stormy, rainy night; that warning signs to caution a wet floor were not posted; nor were there any rugs or mats placed at the entryway for patrons to dry off their shoes. The plaintiff’s claim included a fractured hip and elbow, past/future pain and suffering, and past/future medical expenses. A claim for consortium, filed by her husband against the bakery, alleged the loss of his wife’s services, companionship and intimacy.
According to testimony provided by employees, the fall sustained by the plaintiff was not a hard fall. She had lost her balance and slid slowly onto the floor while holding to her brother until she reached the floor to a seated position. Additionally, the “wet floor” warning cone had been placed at the entrance, which was the customary procedure followed whenever the floors were wet. And that the entry mats had been removed. Earlier that morning the bakery had been burglarized. A window of one of the entry doors was broken allowing the rain inside. The rain-soaked entrance mats, splattered with bits of glass and debris, were removed to be dried and cleaned. Accordingly, all necessary precautions were taken. On the morning of the incident, the floors had been mopped and dried, the caution cone placed and the entrance mats removed.
One employee noticed the plaintiff’s shoes – sandals. Footwear that provided no surface grip; dangerous and inappropriate for an elderly person to wear, especially on rainy days. The employee, also an elderly lady, had passed away by the time the trial took place. Leon described her sandals as one of her best shoes for rainy days, with rubber and tread soles. Shortly after the claim was filed, the plaintiff discarded the sandals, preventing further examination.
Plaintiff’s claim rested on the owner’s inability to maintain a safe establishment that ultimately led to her fall. The defense maintained that the mats would not have necessarily prevented Leon’s fall and the caution/danger cone was placed in clear view at the entrance. The plaintiff had either ignored or not seen the cone and that carelessness, on behalf of the plaintiff, caused her fall. She had simply stumbled, lost her balance and tripped. Short of closing down, the defense argued, the bakery’s owner and employees heeded all precautionary measures to ensure the safety of their clients. “This was an unfortunate event, but the person responsible was not our client” said defense attorney Prieto.
The jury rejected both plaintiffs’ demands, returning a defense verdict on both claims.