Terry Evans and Bill Lewis represented defendant Hy-Vee, Inc. in the case of Helen Remington v. Hy-Vee, Inc. before a Clay County, Missouri jury in June of 2014. The case arose out of an alleged fall which occurred in October of 2011, in which Plaintiff Helen Remington alleged she fell after stepping on a crack in the driveway between the parking lot and the store resulting in compression fractures to Plaintiff’s L2 and L3 vertebrae resulting in fusion and L2-3 laminectomy along with lacerations to her left elbow.
A Clay County jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of Hy-Vee, Inc. in a trip and fall suit after determining that Hy-Vee, Inc. was not at fault for Plaintiff’s fall.
According to Plaintiff, this was her first time at this Hy-Vee Food Store. While walking toward the store on October 21, 2011 at approximately 10:00 p.m., Ms. Remington testified she fell after stepping on a crack in the driveway between the parking lot and the store and fell on her side. Although Plaintiff had a history of back problems prior to the fall, she argued that the fall caused compression fractures to the L2 and L3 vertebrae which resulted in new injuries which required a fusion and laminectomy at the L2-L3 level.
Plaintiff testified she did not see the crack because it was dark and the crack blended into the same color as the pavement. Also, she further testified that the headlights of an oncoming car traveling toward her in the driveway blinded her and it also blocked her vision of the crack as it passed by her.
Employees of Hy-Vee testified they were aware of the crack prior to the incident but determined the crack did not need to be repaired in that it was only one quarter inch deep and all sides of the crack were level. This determination was bolstered by Russell Kendzior, a walking surface safety expert who testified the crack did not pose an unreasonably dangerous condition.
After the closing of the evidence and a brief deliberation, the jury agreed with Hy-Vee, Inc. and returned a unanimous verdict assessing no fault to Defendant.
Damages claimed by Plaintiff for past medical expenses was approximately $30,000. Plaintiff’s attorney made a pre-trial written demand of $175,000. No offer was made by Defendant. Then during closing arguments, Plaintiff argued to the jury for damages between $300,000 and $400,000.