Premises Liability

Court/Case No: St. Clair County Circuit Court/16-001411-NO

Tried/Argued Before: Judge

Demand: $100,000.00

Verdict: $0 – Order for No Cause of Action granted

Name of Judge(s): Honorable Michael West

Keys to the Case:

On January 31, 2014, Plaintiff argued that he was visiting Defendant’s place of business with a friend. After ordering a beer, he walked outside the back door to the covered smoking area to have a cigarette.  Upon opening the door, he claimed he slipped and fell on a patch of ice. He did not see any salt on the ground.  After falling, he claimed he re-entered the restaurant and told a bartender about the incident.  He claimed that upon hearing that he fell, the bartender admitted to having knowledge of the ice. Plaintiff claims that as a result of the slip and fall, he fractured his tibula, requiring an open reduction and internal fixation. Plaintiff had a rod placed with six screws, which he claim still bother him to this day. Plaintiff’s orthopedic surgeon testified that Plaintiff may need to have his hardware removed in the future. 

Plaintiff also presented testimony from his friend, who was at Zebra Lounge with him on the night of the incident, in order to corroborate Plaintiff’s testimony. Defendant was able to poke holes in Plaintiff’s friend’s story, however. 

On cross examination, testimony was elicited from Plaintiff that the ice that he fell on was open and obvious. In addition, Defendant presented testimony from two managers of the restaurant. The managers testified that there is a weather mat in the smoking area that prevents snow or ice from accumulating. The night manager testified that she is a smoker and she frequented the smoking area on the night of the incident and did not see nor feel any ice on Defendant’s property. The night manager testified that after she learned of the incident, she went outside to put salt down, but was unable to locate any ice on Defendant’s premises. Rather, she saw ice on the city sidewalk, just outside of Defendant’s smoking area.  She put salt down on the city sidewalk. 

Finally, Defendant presented evidence that after the incident, but before Plaintiff retained a lawyer, Plaintiff presented to Port Huron Hospital for treatment. Defendant presented a document from Port Huron Hospital, which noted that Plaintiff slipped and fell on the sidewalk. Plaintiff was confronted with this document during cross examination. Plaintiff’s response to the document was that it was a “generic form” that was put in by someone at the hospital, but it did not accurately reflect what he told the doctors and nurses at the hospital. 

Ultimately, the jury found that Defendant’s version of what took place was more credible than Plaintiff’s. The jury found the Defendant was not negligent. 


Defense SW attorney(s) Involved in Case: Kellie C. Joyce

Result Date: 06/13/2018

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