Thursday, December 4, 2014

Verdict Against Target for Soap Spilled by Employee

Target Corporation was found responsible for slip and fall injuries in the lawsuit of Sapp v. Target Cor.  This slip and fall lawsuit began on Oct. 31, 2008, when the plaintiff, Mr. Sapp, an unemployed 48-year-old man, was walking in a Target store.  While shopping he slipped and fell on liquid soap. Sapp suffered injuries to both knees.  He sued Target for premises liability.

Sapp contended that one of Target's employees spilled liquid soap on the floor and failed to follow any of Target's procedures for warning of a spill, such as placing a cone down.  Target denied responsibility and argued that Sapp was distracted when he was walking and did not observe the spill.  Target forced Mr. Sapp to trial where he was well represented by attorney J. Scott Gunn.

Sapp complained of immediate left knee pain, but did not have complaints of right knee pain until about one month after the fall.  In fact, Sapp suffered a torn meniscus in each knee. He underwent four arthroscopic surgeries, two to each knee. Defense counsel conceded the left knee was injured in the fall. Counsel also agreed that the submitted medical bills were reasonable.

Target hired an orthopedic doctor to mitigate Mr. Sapp's claim for dmages.  Target's hired doctor opined that the extra pressure on the right knee caused by using a crutch would have caused right knee pain, but not damage to the meniscus.  Target attempted to use this opinion to contend that the delay in pain in the right knee meant Sapp's knee was not injured in the accident.  The jury did not buy into Target's argument.  After three hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of $230,802.  The verdict was comprised of $50,802 Personal Injury: Past Medical Cost; $80,000 Personal Injury: Past Pain And Suffering; and $100,000 Personal Injury: Future Pain And Suffering.

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