Morrison Mahoney Partner Mark Nugent, with the assistance of Associate Erin McKenna, received a defense verdict after a jury trial in the Providence Superior Court.
The plaintiff was an exterminator who was hired by the insured, Fellini’s Pizza, to provide treatments at the restaurant. While the plaintiff was spraying the ceiling, he stepped onto what he called a “trap door” on the floor of the kitchen. The pizzeria is located in an old building on the East Side of Providence and the only access to the basement is a wooden floor board that could be lifted. The plaintiff fell through the floor into the basement and fractured his left tibia and tore ligaments in his knee. He was self-employed and could not return to work for 18 weeks. Mark argued that the plaintiff had been to the insured’s business before, was aware of the floor board and there was no need to provide any warning of a dangerous condition.
Prior to trial, the case was submitted to the mandatory, non-binding arbitration program sponsored by the Superior Court. The arbitrator gave an award in favor of the plaintiff, but the plaintiff rejected the award because he felt that it was not enough. By the time of trial, there was 66% pre-judgment interest on any verdict.
The jury found that there was no breach of any duty owed to the plaintiff and rendered a defense verdict.