Plaintiff, a forty-two-year old mother of three children, alleged that she fell as a result of sidewalk defect on a Hospital’s property. Joseph Petka represented the defendant Hospital. The plaintiff was diagnosed with a dislocation and a tear in her right wrist. She was placed in a cast, and followed up with an orthopedic surgeon over the course of 2 ½ years. At the time of the trial, she continued to complain of frequent wrist pain, and alleged missing forty-two days of work, and being unable to work overtime since the fall due to a difficulty typing. The plaintiff, who was right-handed, alleged limitations with all activities requiring the use of her right hand.
Mr. Petka argued that the Hospital was not negligent because the defect in question was not large enough to constitute “an unreasonable risk of harm to pedestrians,” as required by the standard jury instruction. After deliberating less than an hour, a Philadelphia jury found for the Hospital.