Plaintiff with multiple prior injuries slips/falls on wet floor at hotel. $208K. Placer County.
After watching a meteor shower over mountain skies, a guest slips and falls on hotel lobby floor that was just mopped. This was not his first slip and fall.
- Case Name: Joe Borowski v. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, et al.
- Court and Case Number: Placer County Superior Court / SCV0034735
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Friday, January 06, 2017
- Date Action was Filed: Monday, June 30, 2014
- Type of Action: Slip and Fall
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Jeffrey Penney
- Plaintiffs: Joe Borowski, 51, self-employed plastics fabricator.
- Defendants: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLCLandcorp Management Services, LLCJoas Services, LLCJasmine Torres
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: $234,124.36 (total judgment)
- Net Verdict or Award: $208,553 plus attorney fees and costs.
- Contributory/Comparative Negligence: Plaintiff was found to be 1% comparatively at fault.
- Economic Damages:
Past medical expenses: $83,553.41.
Future medical expenses: $25,000
- Non-Economic Damages:
- Trial or Arbitration Time: 8 days.
- Jury Deliberation Time: 1 day.
- Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Plaintiff motioned for additur, attorney fees and costs of proof for defendants' denial of liability in Requests For Admissions.
- Attorney for the Plaintiff:
Bissell Law Corporation by Todd S. Bissell, Folsom.
- Attorney for the Defendant:
Harris & Yempuku by Victoria Yamamoto, Sacramento.
- Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):
Kevin Hansen, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Roseville.
Daniel Dunlevy, M.D., physical medicine, Citrus Heights. (Treating physician.)
Vince Hoffart, D.C., chiropractic, Rocklin. (Treating chiropractor.)
- Defendant's Medical Expert(s):
Peter Sfakianos, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Folsom.
- Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):
- Defendant's Technical Expert(s):
Facts and Background
- Facts and Background:
On May 24, 2014 plaintiff was a guest at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe in Truckee. He and his girlfriend were watching a meteor shower near the outside fire pit around 1:00 a.m. As they entered the hotel lobby and walked toward the elevator, plaintiff slipped on a wet floor that had just been mopped.
Defendant Ritz-Carlton had subcontracted the night janitorial services to defendant Landcorp Management Services, LLC, an Arizona corporation. Landcorp subcontracted those services to defendant Joas Services, LLC, a small housekeeping company from Reno, NV.
Defendant Jasmine Torres, the employee of Joas Services, had mopped the floor only minutes before plaintiff slipped. The incident was witnessed by Ritz-Carlton's security officer who was on patrol. He testified that there was a "wet floor" warning sign only a few feet away from where plaintiff slipped. He observed plaintiff hyper-extend his knee and transported plaintiff to the emergency room.
- Plaintiff's Contentions:
Plaintiff claimed soft-tissue back and neck injuries as well as an exacerbation of pre-existing knee symptoms, resulting in chiropractic and physical therapy treatment, and a total knee replacement performed by Dr. Hansen. Plaintiff denied seeing the "wet-floor" sign and contended that he was physically doing well from his pre-exisitng injuries at the time of this incident.
- Defendant's Contentions:
Plaintiff had six prior knee surgeries arising from a motorcycle accident as a teenager, a worker's compensation slip and fall 10 years later, and another slip and fall at a 7-11 store several years after that which resulted in litigation; also a second worker's compensation slip and fall at another job five years before the incident at the Ritz-Carlton.
Defendant argued that plaintiff had been drinking alcohol prior to his slipping at the Ritz-Carlton, that he should have seen the "wet-floor" sign that was right in front of him and that his knee condition was degenerative and unrelated to the incident at the Ritz-Carlton. Defendant denied liability for this accident.
Injuries and Other Damages
- Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:
Soft-tissue back and neck injuries as well as an exacerbation of pre-existing knee symptoms.
Dr. Hansen testified that because of plaintiff's age he would likely need the implant replaced at some point in his lifetime.
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $83,553.41
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: Future back surgery.
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: Plaintiff was self-employed and did not claim lost wages.
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: None.
Demands and Offers
- Plaintiff §998 Demand: $300,000
Plaintiff filed a motion for additur, attorney fees and costs of proof for defendants' refusal to admit liability in a Request for Admissions. The court denied the additur but granted the costs of proof motion, awarding plaintiff an additional $7,500 in fees and costs.
Per defense counsel:
Plaintiff asked the jury for $2,000,000 at trial.
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