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Defense Verdict Upheld on Appeal

April 5, 2018

Sedigheh Ansari and Abbas Taheri appealed from a judgment in favor of El Proyecto Del Barrio, Inc. and El Proyecto Del Barrio Foundation. The appellants contended the trial court erred when it failed to instruct the jury that it could consider the failure of respondents to follow their own alleged policies and procedures as evidence of negligence. During trial the defendant contended that the policies and procedures plaintiffs were relying on were not, in fact , the policies and procedures of the defendant. The Court of Appeal found no error in refusing the proffered jury instruction and affirmed the judgment in favor of El Proyecto. The appeal was handled by Edmund G. Farrell, III.

In the case, the plaintiff, a 77-year-old woman, allegedly tripped and fell over a concrete wheel stop located in the disabled parking stall section of a parking lot owned by a not-for-profit medical clinic (“Clinic”) in Winnetka, CA. As a result of the fall, the plaintiff sustained a left arm fracture and two years after her fall, underwent a total shoulder replacement surgery. Notably, there were no witnesses to the fall other than the plaintiff’s son and her 94 year old husband who only saw her as she was falling to the ground, but did not actually see her trip over the wheel stop. The plaintiff filed an original complaint for negligence and premises liability against the clinic and her husband filed a claim for loss of consortium.

After an eight day jury trial which included testimony from two liability experts, two shoulder surgeons, an upper extremity expert, two life care planners, an economist, an architect, and six percipient witnesses, the jury took less than 45 minutes to render a defense verdict in favor of the defendant.

For more information on the case click here. To view the appellate decision click here.