90-year-old woman knocked to floor by door inside restaurant. $185K. Los Angeles County.

Summary

90-year-old in good health is knocked to ground by malfunctioning door. Subsequent injury complicates the case.

The Case

  • Case Name: Isabella Lubomirski v. PCAL-BB, Inc. dba Sansai Japanese Grill
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court/ BC648559
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Wednesday, November 21, 2018
  • Date Action was Filed: Tuesday, January 31, 2017
  • Type of Action: Premises Liability
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Mark Borenstein
  • Plaintiffs:
    Isabella Lubomirski, 90, retired.
  • Defendants:
    PCAL-BB, Inc. dba Sansai Japanese Grill
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $185,179.54
  • Net Verdict or Award: $250,000 after 998 interest and costs.
  • Economic Damages:

    $41,784.54

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    $143,395

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 6 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 5 hours.
  • Jury Polls: 12-0 past non-economic damages, 10-2 future non-economic damages.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    The Pivtorak Law Firm by David Pivtorak, Los Angeles.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    DeSimone & Huxster by Gerry DeSimone, Agoura Hills.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Arbis Rojas, M.D., geriatrics, Pasadena. (Treating physician.)

    Scott Liang, M.D., internal medicine, Arcadia. (Treating physician.)

    Braden Criswell, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Pasadena. (Treating physician.)

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Arthur Kreitenberg, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Los Angeles.

    Abraham Ishaaya, M.D., geriatrics & pulmonology, Los Angeles.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On March 19, 2015 plaintiff was having lunch with her son at the Sansai Japanese Grill in Burbank. They had just spent the week celebrating plaintiff’s 90th birthday. Before leaving, plaintiff went to use the restroom. On the way out of the restroom she was struck in the back by the large wooden door, causing her to fall.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    The restaurant's restroom doors were equipped with pneumatic door closers that were supposed to prevent the door from slamming shut. The closer on the women's restroom door was defective because it did not control the swing speed of the door and closed with sufficient force to throw plaintiff to the ground.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant admitted liability shortly before trial. At trial defendant claimed that plaintiff had balance and stability issues before the incident and that she had recovered to her pre-injury state approximately seven months following the incident.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Plaintiff was taken to Huntington Memorial Hospital from the restaurant where doctors discovered that she had a comminuted displaced left intertrochanteric femur fracture. Plaintiff underwent a rodding surgery that left her with a 15-inch piece of titanium in her leg. Before the injury plaintiff lived on her own, was completely independent, and very active – exercising and walking almost every day. After the surgery, despite tireless efforts in physical therapy and on her own, plaintiff suffered from instability, requiring the use of a cane, and constant fatigue which prevented her from doing many of the activities she was able to enjoy before the incident.

  • Approximately three years after the incident plaintiff suffered another fall which caused severe injuries and left her mostly wheelchair-bound. At trial, the jury was instructed that the subsequent fall was unrelated to the original injury.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $41,784.54

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $145,000, served August 15, 2017.
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $100,001, served August 29, 2018. Offer increased to $125,000.

Additional Notes

Per defense counsel:

On September 28, 2018 plaintiff advised defendant of the subsequent fall and increased her demand to $1,000,000. However, after the court precluded the claim that the second fall was causally connected to the March 19, 2015 fall at the defendant’s restaurant, the plaintiff reduced her demand to $385,000. In the subsequent fall the plaintiff suffered multiple pelvic fractures and a subdural hematoma.   

Disclaimer

This is not an official court document. While the publisher believes the information to be accurate, the publisher does not guarantee it and the reader is advised not to rely upon it without consulting the official court documents or the attorneys of record in this matter who are listed above.

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