Man trips and falls over single step at office building he's been at many times before, claims step was not well marked.
Gomez Trial Attorneys by Bibianne Fell and Ben Coughlan, San Diego.
Austin Brownwood Cannon & Santa Cruz by Sylvia S. Aceves, San Diego.
Christian Bentley, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Encinitas.
Richard Greenfield, M.D., orthopedic surgery, San Diego.
Brad Avrit, P.E., safety engineering, Marina del Rey.
Pete Zande, CSP, premises safety, Lake Forest.
On May 3, 2014, plaintiff Daniel Laimon went to an appointment with a tenant in the commercial office building owned by defendants Carole and Antoine Georges. Plaintiff testified that he has been visiting the tenant, Dermatex, at this location once every 3 weeks for approximately 10 years.
However, he claimed he had never been on the left side of the building prior to the accident. When plaintiff arrived at the building, he found that the elevator in the building was not working. The parties stipulated that the day of the accident was the first time that the elevators were not working. Handwritten signs pointed him in opposite directions to find stairs outside. He found the signs to be "confusing."
He testified he was not sure which way to go and exited to the left side of the building, which is the opposite side of where Dermatex is located. As Plaintiff walked down the hallway on the right side of the building, he approached the glass doors to exit the building. As he exited the glass doors, he stumbled on a single unmarked step because he did not see it and tripped on the curb.
The right side of plaintiff's body hit the asphalt in the parking lot. Plaintiff continued on to his appointment and told an employee at Dermatex that he had fallen on the steps outside the building. She testified she could see he was in apparent discomfort throughout his appointment.
Plaintiff contended that the defendant should have done something to make the step more visible, for example, place a paint strip of contrasting color and/or install a handrail, both at minimal cost.
Plaintiff also contended that the step did not comply with the Uniform Building Code because defendant is required to maintain his property in a safe condition.
Defendant contended that there was no code violation with respect to the step, the landing or the door. That there had been no complaints or other known falls on the step. Further, that plaintiff failed to maintain a proper lookout and may have had vision problems on the date of the accident.
Shattered humeral head. Plaintiff had two surgeries prior to trial, including a reverse total shoulder replacement. Plaintiff contended that he will need a shoulder replacement revision surgery every 10 years for the rest of his life.