Verdict against a public entity for a woman who seriously injured her back when falling in a negligently designed restroom. Selected as one of California’s TOP 100 Verdicts for 2016.
Ms. Triplett arrived in Los Angeles from Missouri, to visit her sick aunt with her mother in August 2012. After deplaning and entering Terminal 1 at LAX, Ms. Triplett goes to the restroom in the concourse. Upon reaching the front of the line, Ms. Triplett sees a stall door open at the end of the restroom. She walks down the hall, pushes the stall door open and immediately slips in liquid and falls straight down on her hip and back.
As a result of her fall, Ms. Triplett suffered hip and back injuries, ultimately resulting in two surgeries and a lifetime of back and hip pain. Ms. Triplett can no longer engage in the activities she once enjoyed, including playing with her grandchildren and working on houses for her business.
In August 2013, Dan Kramer of Kramer Holcomb Sheik along with local Missouri counsel, James Howard of Rogers, Ehrhardt, Weber & Howard, brought suit against LAX for premises liability and negligence based on a dangerous condition. Ms. Triplett claimed that LAX created a dangerous condition by allowing unsafe tiling to be installed in the restroom, which became slippery when wet, and eventually led to her slip and fall. LAX denied any liability, causation or damages throughout the litigation process.
The case went to trial in October 2016 in Department I at Santa Monica Courthouse, Judge Chester Horn presiding. Ms. Triplett’s team fought an uphill battle of proving liability, causation and damages to a conservative and highly educated Santa Monica jury. LAX attempted to skirt liability by claiming that Ms. Triplett should have noticed the spilled liquid from behind the closed stall door, that Ms. Triplett lied about falling in the first place, and even that the tiling LAX chose to install was safe enough, given that bacteria grows more quickly on slip resistant tiling. Over an eight day trial, Ms. Triplett’s team fought back against each of these defenses, including a claim that Ms. Triplett had multiple preexisting back issues and was not harmed in this fall.
Ultimately, the jury came back with a verdict fully in Ms. Triplett’s favor, awarding her $2,160,000.00 in damages and finding no comparative fault on Ms. Triplett.