Defense Verdict in Premises Liability Case

Jane Higgins and Jessica Droste Simon recently obtained a defense verdict in a premises liability case that was tried in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky.

The Plaintiff fell in the vestibule of a restaurant and broke her left knee resulting in four knee surgeries. The Plaintiff’s theory of liability was that the restaurant failed in its duty of ordinary care because the mat in its vestibule did not cover the entire tile floor of this area and that they failed in their duty to warn because it was raining and there was no wet floor sign present in the vestibule.

We defended on the basis that if the vestibule mat was any larger, the entrance and exit doors would make contact with it, causing it to buckle thereby creating a potential trip hazard and that the restaurant had no duty to warn of the obvious condition of rain.

The Plaintiff’s medicals were in excess of $240,000 and she also sought $500,000 in pain and suffering – we had obtained summary judgment on her lost earnings and future impairment prior to trial. The jury deliberated one hour before returning a defense verdict.

David Napier v. Tincher-Williams, Chevrolet, Inc.

Jane Higgins and Sarah Noble achieved a defense verdict in Laurel Circuit Court in a personal injury action brought against their client, a London car dealership. The Plaintiff claimed to have sustained a shoulder injury after falling from the bed of a pick-up truck on the dealership lot as he climbed over the tailgate after inspecting the fifth wheel of the vehicle. Specifically, Plaintiff alleged the tailgate had been improperly or partially latched by a dealership employee and spontaneously opened as he crossed over it, throwing him 15 feet onto the ground, where he landed on his shoulder. The Plaintiff claimed that the dealership was negligent for its alleged creation of the hazardous condition and/or its failure to warn the Plaintiff of that condition. No testimony was offered providing that a dealership employee improperly closed the tailgate and testimony from multiple dealership employees confirm that a partially latched tailgate is, at best, an expected condition(if not impossible). The jury deliberated for less than one hour before returning a verdict in favor of the dealership.

Trucking Liability Case

Bill Orberson, of the Louisville office, and Jane Higgins, of the Lexington office, successfully defended a trucking liability case before the Hardin County Circuit Court.

The subject accident occurred on I-65, after the co-defendant swerved into our client’s lane and was struck in the rear by our client’s truck. The co-defendant then struck the Plaintiff, a commercial truck-driver, who was changing a tire on the shoulder. The Plaintiff claimed damages in excess of $1,000,000 for mild traumatic brain injury, PTSD, and herniated discs in his lower-back. On the second day of trial, but before the Plaintiff closed his case, Bill and Jane successfully moved for a directed verdict, arguing that the Plaintiff had failed to prove, and could not prove, any breach of duty against our client.

This was Bill’s 4th career directed verdict.