Jan 27 2020

Christopher Storm Obtains Defense Verdict in Essex County Superior Court

Morrison Mahoney Partner Christopher Storm recently obtained a defense verdict in a premises liability case following a five-day jury trial in Essex County Superior Court.  The elderly Plaintiff was shopping in a supermarket when another shopper, pushing a shopping cart, struck her heel.  The incident occurred near what the Plaintiff alleged was a “choke point” in the aisle, because the path through the aisle was narrowed by a dolly of goods being restocked and a display of merchandise standing on the aisle floor.  The plaintiff alleged that the aisle arrangement caused the other shopper to strike her with a cart.  The plaintiff suffered a fracture in her heel, and also plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinosis following the incident.  The main defense arguments were that (1) the aisle arrangement did not constitute a breach of the duty of care; (2) the aisle arrangement did not influence the other shopper’s path of travel or otherwise cause the incident; and (3) the majority of the plaintiff’s pain and treatment derived from plantar fasciitis, which, notwithstanding a treating doctor’s record to the contrary, could not credibly be related to the alleged mechanism of harm.  The Plaintiff’s medical expert conceded on cross examination that there was no radiological or clinical evidence supporting plaintiff’s contention that the plaintiff’s heel fracture would have extended to the plantar fascia.  The jury found that the supermarket was not negligent after deliberating for approximately thirty-five minutes. 

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