Morrison Mahoney Partner Adam Mordecai recently secured a very low, favorable verdict following a jury trial in the Hillsborough County Superior Court, Northern District in New Hampshire. The case involved a trip and fall suffered by a visitor to a local condominium complex. The plaintiff alleged that she had gotten her foot stuck in a noticeable gap between adjoining walkways, fallen, and sustained permanent back and knee injuries as a result. The alleged defect had been present for years, but the condo association had just shortly before plaintiff’s fall decided to expend maintenance funds to do anything about it. That repair work was not carried out until after the plaintiff’s accident due, in large part, to the association’s need to address other walkway issues on the premises that it simply felt were more pressing. There was evidence that the plaintiff was distracted as she approached the scene of the accident and testimony from the plaintiff herself that she had been aware of this particular defect for several years. There was no evidence that any prior complaints had been lodged concerning the area in question, but the association admitted that the walkway was on its list of items requiring maintenance.
The plaintiff had limited medical treatment after the incident, but claimed that her back in particular was an ongoing problem and represented a permanent injury that would plague her for the remainder of her life. While the plaintiff had sought substantial treatment for her knee and lower back before this accident, she claimed that the back injury in particular was of a different quality and scope than it had been before. At the close of trial, the plaintiff asked the jury to award $303,000 in damages. The jury ultimately entered a verdict of $20,000, but allocated comparative fault of 35% to the plaintiff. As a result, the verdict was reduced to just $13,000.