Author: Kevin Regan

Fall in Mall Parking Lot – $525,000 Verdict

A woman injured in a fall in the parking lot of a mall where she worked was awarded $525,000 by a Middlesex County jury.

According to the attorneys in the case, plaintiff, Jan Perdun tripped and fell in the parking lot of a strip mall where she worked in one of the stores. She suffered a toe fracture. Perdun alleged she tripped due to a depression caused by a utility trench that had been previously installed. Her expert testified that the depression violated multiple codes.

Perdun sued property owner and manager Henry Plaza Inc., alleging it was negligent for allowing a dangerous condition to exist. Perdun also sued Brown & Glynn Construction Inc., which Henry Plaza had hired to install the utility trench. Although Brown & Glynn installed the utility trench, it was Henry Plaza’s duty as property owner and manager to ensure there were no defects with the trench and, if there were any, it was then responsible for remediating it, the expert stated. The suit claimed John Henry, the owner of Henry Plaza, admittedly was on the property every day and yet failed to make any attempt to repair the trench. Brown & Glynn also was named.

Counsel for Henry Plaza argued Perdun was liable because she was wearing flip-flops at the time, and that her improper footwear contributed to the accident.

Perdun’s podiatrist diagnosed her with a fracture of one of her sesamoid bones in her right big toe. She was put on a course of physical therapy and underwent a series of cortisone injections. She later underwent surgical repair. Perdun’s podiatrist opined she is prone to bunion deformity. Perdun testified she had to wear orthotics in order to maintain her balance. She stated she experiences pain in her right foot after long periods of standing. This allegedly is challenging in her job duties.

After a four-day trial the jury found Henry Plaza 100 percent liable. No liability was found against Brown & Glyn. The jury awarded $525,000.

Original Article First Posted in the New Jersey Law Journal July 30, 2019