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301-862-4400
22335 Exploration Drive Ste. 2030
Lexington Park, MD 20653
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Jury Returns $229,651 Verdict for Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz Client in Slip and Fall Case

 

It was a good day in court for Celeste Newland on April 12, 2018.  After a two day trial, a Saint Mary’s County jury returned a verdict in the amount of $229,651.  Mrs. Newland suffered a fractured patella when she slipped and fell on a banana peel in the Sheetz parking lot in Lexington Park, MD.

After deliberating for approximately two hours, the jury returned a verdict covering all of her medical bills and providing $200,000 for pain and suffering damages. 

While conceding just before trial that the store had been negligent in failing to inspect, and clean up its parking lot, Sheetz argued that it should not be held responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries because the plaintiff was contributorily negligent and assumed the risk of her injuries.

The plaintiff testified in the case explaining the significant physical and emotional trauma that have affected her since the injury which occurred in December, 2013.  As a business invitee, the store owed the plaintiff a duty of reasonable care to maintain a safe premises and to warn her of any latent defects. 

In addition to the testimony of the plaintiff, Dr. Ehsan Abdeshahian, the plaintiffs pain management doctor testified in the plaintiffs case.  The defendant chose not to call any witnesses in its case.

The defendant argued that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent, and assumed the risk of injury and therefore that she should not be able to recover as a matter of law.  Under Maryland law, both contributory negligence and assumption of risk are affirmative defenses which would prevent the plaintiff from recovering any money.

At the conclusion of the case, plaintiff requested and was granted a partially directed verdict on the question of whether or not Mrs. Newland assumed the risk of her injury.  Judge Karen Abrams ruled that there was insufficient evidence to support the claim that she assumed the risk of injury and that as such, that question would not be decided by the jury.  Instead, the jury was left to decide whether Mrs. Newland was contributorily negligent, and if what amount of damages would be awarded, if any.

Richard Steinmetz, who represented Mrs. Newland in the case pointed out to the jury that the defendant had made inconsistent arguments about what happened and therefore should be discredited.  The defendant’s argument that she was contributorily negligent, for not using due care and looking where she was walking was factually inconsistent with another argument they made, that she assumed the risk of injury.  When a party assumes the risk of injury, they voluntarily chooses to encounter a known risk.

There were several factors which made this a good case to take to trial.  First, the plaintiff was fortunate inasmuch as the incident was captured on the store’s security surveillance cameras.  Thus the jury got to actually see the fall.  Second, the injury was significant and discrete.  Plaintiff suffered a fracture of the patella.  Finally, the defendant’s attempt to shift the blame to the plaintiff simply didn’t seem to sit well with the jury. 

If you are significantly injured in a slip and fall, an automobile accident, or any other type of accident, because another person was not careful, you may be entitled to monetary damages for your medical expenses and pain and suffering.  Contact our office today for a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your injury claim.

 

The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz, P.C. also offers these services:

Bankruptcy and ForeclosureBusiness LawCivil LitigationCriminal DefenseEmployment, Disability, and Consumer RightsFamily LawGovernment Contracts LawIntellectual Property, Personal InjuryReal Estate, Social Security Disability & Workers’ Compensation and Wills, Trusts, & Estates

 

 

Contact Us

The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz, P.C.

22335 Exploration Drive

Suite 2030

Lexington Park, MD 20653

301-862-4400 Phone

301-862-3009 Fax

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Our Attorneys

Samuel C.P. Baldwin, Jr., Esq.

Janice Briscoe, Esq.

Richard J. Steinmetz Jr., Esq.

David J. Hebb, Esq.

Sandra Kaufman Jonasen, Esq.


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With an office conveniently located in Lexington Park, The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Stienmetz, P.C. serves clients in the counties and cities of Lexington Park, Leonardtown, Hollywood, Mechanicsville, Loveville, Helen, Breton Bay, Chaptico, Charlotte Hall, Golden Beach, Avenue, La Plata, Waldorf, Newburg, Port Tobacco, Port Charles, Solomons Island, Prince Frederick, Chesapeake Shores, Hughesville, Benedict, Nanjemoy, Lusby, Port Republic, St. Mary's County, Charles County, Calvert County, Prince George's County, Southern Maryland.


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