Plaintiff with multiple prior injuries slips/falls on wet floor at hotel. $208K. Placer County.

Summary

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.

The Case

  • 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, LLC
    Landcorp Management Services, LLC
    Joas Services, LLC
    Jasmine Torres
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • 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:

    $100,000

  • 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.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Bissell Law Corporation by Todd S. Bissell, Folsom.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Harris & Yempuku by Victoria Yamamoto, Sacramento.

The Experts

  • 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):

    None.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    None.

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

  • 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

Additional Notes

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.

 

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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