Jury Returns Defense Verdict after 50-Minute Deliberation
September 28, 2011
Plaintiff Timothy Julian sued two defendants following a December 10, 2007 accident that occurred at the Long Beach Towne Center on property leased by defendant Sam's East, Inc. and managed by defendant Vestar Property Management. Mr. Julian claimed to have sustained significant orthopedic injuries to his left shoulder, low back, left knee and left ankle as a result of a negligently maintained storm grate which he claimed shifted under his feet while he was loading over 50 pounds of soda he had purchased from Sam's into his vehicle.
The plaintiff submitted to four separate surgeries: the surgical repair of damage to his left ankle, low back fusion, left shoulder and left knee. Following the Supreme Court's recent decision in Howell, the surgeries resulted in recoverable damages of $108,017.19. The defendants denied liability, offering evidence that Vestar's on-site property manager personally walked the property, that the property management company retained continuous security and janitorial services, that Sam's employees were frequently present to assist customers with loading their vehicles and to make cart runs, and that Sam’s Tire Service Center employees engaged in heavy use of the area.
After nine days in trial, the jury retired to deliberate before returning a defense verdict less than an hour later, finding that neither Sam's East, Inc. nor Vestar Property Management negligently maintained the grate.
Guy R. Gruppie