Plaintiff slips on spilled cat litter in grocery store and sustains lumbar spine injuries. $2.5M. Los Angeles County.
Plaintiff says that the bag of cat litter had been slit open by stocking clerks and should have been removed. Ralph's Grocery says no negligence.
- Case Name: Blasing v. Ralphs Grocery
- Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / BC649818
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, February 03, 2020
- Type of Action: Slip and Fall
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Peter Mirich
- Plaintiffs: John Blasing, 52, musician
- Defendants: Ralphs Grocery
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: $2,499,408
- Net Verdict or Award: $1,999,936.64
- Contributory/Comparative Negligence: 20% to plaintiff.
- Economic Damages:
Past medical: $229, 608
Future medical: $169,600
- Non-Economic Damages:
- Trial or Arbitration Time: 8 days
- Jury Deliberation Time: 2 days
- Jury Polls: 12-0
- Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Costs and CCP 998 interest awarded. Appeal filed by defense. Holly Boyer of Esner, Chang & Boyer to work with plaintiffs on appeal.
- Attorney for the Plaintiff:
Sullivan & Sullivan by Jerold "Gene" Sulllivan, Manhattan Beach.
- Attorney for the Defendant:
Stone | Dean by Greg Stone, Woodland Hills.
- Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):
Ramin Rabbani, M.D., orthopedic surgery.
- Defendant's Medical Expert(s):
Richard Rosenberg, M.D., orthopedic surgery.
- Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):
Brad Avrit, safety engineering.
Jan Roughan, life care planning/medical billing.
Ed Garcia, economics.
- Defendant's Technical Expert(s):
Facts and Background
- Facts and Background:
Plaintiff was walking in a Ralphs grocery store when he slipped on some spilled cat litter. The leaking bag had been removed from the shelf by another customer and placed on the floor. The Ralphs policy was to sweep the floor once every hour.
- Plaintiff's Contentions:
That the spilled cat litter had been hard for plaintiff to see as he was wearing sun glasses. That the amount of time the spill remained on the floor was irrelevant as the store-branded cat litter bag had been cut during stocking and should have been removed immediately.
- Defendant's Contentions:
Defendant claimed no liability as they had an adequate sweeping plan and the cat litter had been on the floor for only 24 minutes. That plaintiff either staged the fall or was not truly injured. That plaintiff's par fracture was present at birth. That this attorney-referred lien case had built-up medical charges.
That plaintiff had walked over the spill eight minutes prior to the accident and appeared to look down at it. Then plaintiff came back into the aisle and walked in the same spill and fell.
That defendant store did not have "notice" of the spill as it was on the floor for such a short amount of time. Also, that another customer might have slit the bag with a shopping cart, causing it to leak.
Injuries and Other Damages
- Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:
Pars fracture in lumbar spine involving three epidurals and lumbar fusion surgery. Future lumbar fusion revision also claimed.
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $229,608
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $169,600
Demands and Offers
- Plaintiff §998 Demand: $499,999 on December 21, 2018.
- Defendant §998 Offer: $140,000