Plaintiff drank with cousin in cousin's apartment, then slipped and fell; cause disputed.
Law Office of Arkady Itkin by Arkady Itkin, San Francisco.
Law Office of John Biard by Maria Caruana, Walnut Creek.
Elaine Serina, Ph.D., biomechanics, Hayward.
Plaintiff alleged he slipped and fell on a metal strip at the top of a set of carpeted stairs on January 19, 2014. The fall occurred at an apartment building in Oakland owned by defendant. Plaintiff was visiting his cousin, and drank beer while waching television. Plaintiff alleged he slipped because the bottom of his tennis shoes became wet after he stepped onto some water on the carpeted hallway just before he reached the stairs. He claimed the water came from a nearby laundry room.
Plaintiff contended that the defendant failed to conduct periodic inspections to maintain and clean premises, and failed to show any documentation showing any type of maintenance and inspection throughout the time the property was owned by him.
Defendant offered evidence by way of testimony of the acting property manager, reflecting constant visits and inspection, and that there were two onsite managers who also cared for the property. Defendant offered testimony that the laundry rooms on the floor where plaintiff fell had been made non-operational 6-8 months before the incident, that the laundry machines had been taken out and the pipes had been capped off.
Defendant testified there was no notice of water on the carpet the day of this incident, or the preceding week, weeks or month before this incident. Defendant presented evidence by two EMTs that plaintiff showed signs of intoxication at the scene, including slurred speech and alcohol on his breath. Defendant presented evidence of the emergency medicine physician who personally assessed plaintiff at the hospital, indicating plaintiff was clinically intoxicated upon arriving at the hospital.
Defendant also proffered evidence by a biomechanical expert, indicating plaintiff’s multiple accounts of how he fell were inconsistent, and not plausible. And that the intoxication may have played a role in the way his body moved as the fall occurred.
Plaintiff suffered ankle fracture. His treatment included ambulance transport, emergency room, ankle surgery and 1 1/2 months of physical therapy.