At a hard-fought premises liability trial, Plaintiff claimed to have slipped and fallen on Defendant’s sidewalk. Plaintiff asserted that virtually all water from Defendant’s property pooled on an area of Defendant’s sidewalk due to poor grading and the home’s drainage system discharging directly onto the sidewalk. Plaintiff further alleged that insufficient lighting turned the area into a “trap” during freezing, nighttime hours.
At trial, Plaintiff produced photographs taken just after his fall depicting a large patch of untreated ice on Defendant’s sidewalk just under Defendant’s downspout. In an effort to support his claim, Plaintiff produced the live testimony of a structural engineer.
However, during Eamon Merrigan’s cross-examination, the engineer conceded that neither the grading, nor the drainage system violated any specific applicable code. The expert further conceded that he presented to the property during the evening hours, and that the area of Plaintiff’s alleged fall was well-lit. As such, Mr. Merrigan argued the large patch of ice was open and obvious to the Plaintiff had he been paying attention while walking. They jury apparently agreed.
The 12-member jury unanimously found in favor of Mr. Merrigan’s client on the issue of negligence. As a consequence, Plaintiff, who had fractured his fibular requiring surgery with hardware placement and was left with limited range of motion in his leg, as well as surgical scarring and approximately $56,000 in economic damages, did not recover anything, nor did Plaintiff’s wife, who asserted a loss of consortium claim.