Joe Petka again successfully defended a local hospital in a Philadelphia jury trial. The plaintiff was a sixty year old government worker who had visited a local hospital in order to eat lunch in the cafeteria. As she was leaving the hospital, the plaintiff slipped on a patch of ice that had developed near the hospital’s front entrance. The plaintiff sued the hospital for negligence and alleged that the fall caused her to re-aggravate a prior cervical fusion.
In his defense of the hospital, Mr. Petka called several hospital employees to testify regarding the great lengths taken by the hospital to keep the campus safe during the winter season. Specifically, the hospital had a groundskeeper and security guards who made regular inspections and they kept salt by each doorway. Mr. Petka argued that the hospital remained vigilant in trying to identify patches of ice during the winter and that requiring a property to be free of snow and ice at all times was an impossible standard. Additionally, Mr. Petka argued that the plaintiff had a duty to pay attention where she was walking and that she was negligent herself for failing to see the patch of ice before walking on it.
Ultimately a jury of eight women and four men agreed with Mr. Petka and found that the fall was caused by the plaintiff’s own negligence.