$300,000 Verdict in Providence County Landlord/Tenant Slip and Fall

RI Lawyers Weekly has the details on my first trial which resulted in a favorable verdict for the plaintiff:

The defendants purchased a three-unit investment rental property on July 18, 2005. At the time, defendant No. 1 was a town building official and defendant No. 2 was the town planner, a job he retains today.

They leased a first-floor, two-bedroom apartment to the plaintiff, a longtime self-employed plasterer, in January 2006, although a certificate of occupancy was not issued until four months later.

The plaintiff reported to the defendants that leaks were coming through the ceiling in early 2006. The defendants traced the leaks to the roof and then attempted to make temporary repairs using a liquid tar product. They performed the repair in late January, but did not properly follow the instructions on the product.

On July 3, the plaintiff unlocked his door and began to enter the unit through the rear entrance. When he stepped onto the linoleum floor, he slipped and fell, fracturing his left wrist while trying to brace his fall.

Immediately after the fall, he noticed that there was a puddle on the kitchen floor caused by a leak in the ceiling above.

Within a few weeks of the injury, the defendants hired a contractor and replaced the roof.

The plaintiff underwent surgery in February 2007 to his left wrist, his dominant hand. A plate and several pins were placed, and he was rendered unable to work.

The jury returned a verdict of $300,000, attributing 20-percent negligence to the plaintiff.

Action: Premises liability

Injuries alleged: Fracture, nerve damage

Name of case: Scorpio v. Goff, et al.

Court/case no.: Providence County Superior Court, No. 07-4130

Jury and/or judge: Jury/Susan E. McGuirl

Amount: $240,000

Date: Nov. 4, 2010

Attorneys: Jeffrey A. Mega and Matthew T. Jerzyk, Deluca & Weizenbaum, Providence (for the plaintiff)

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