MKCI Hartford, CT partner Bruce Raymond obtained a defense verdict yesterday in a premises liability negligence action on behalf of a regional retailer with 150 stores.
Plaintiff claimed she sustained cervical and upper extremity injuries when a store manager handed her a heavier than expected folding chair from a top shelf. Plaintiff alleged the store manager was standing on a step stool to access the top shelf and, because the store was understaffed, handed the chair directly to Plaintiff, requiring her to grab the chair with both hands extended above her head. Plaintiff did not report any injury until two days after purchasing the folding chair, after having an altercation with the store manager over a cell phone Plaintiff inadvertently left in the store until after closing.
Over Plaintiff’s objection, and under exceptions to the hearsay rules to show conduct inconsistent with an alleged injury on the day of the incident, the defense admitted a police report detailing the unusual after-closing events. The evidence further demonstrated that Plaintiff pounded on the front window and threw plants at the store in order to try to get the employees to re-open the store for her. Further, when the store manager opened the door slightly to let Plaintiff know she would get the cell phone for her, Plaintiff shoved the manager and pushed past her to enter the store.
A unanimous eight-person jury found MKCI’s client was not negligent in any way after 30 minutes of deliberations.
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