$1,000,000 :: Childs v. Alpha Beta

JURY VERDICT: Delivery man slipped and fell at supermarket

On May 1, 1989, Lel Childs, 55, was delivering goods for NABISCO at a California Alpha Beta supermarket when he slipped and fell. Childs was using the supermarket’s delivery entrance ramp during the course and scope of his work when the accident occurred. He suffered serious injuries and was rushed to the hospital.

Once at the hospital, Childs was diagnosed with a torn medial meniscus, requiring orthoscopic surgery, and resulting blood clots. Childs would later be hospitalized four times for blood clots following the accident. His doctors advised him to keep his leg elevated throughout the day to reduce his risk of further complications. The injury required long-term medical care with ongoing medication for blood thinning.

All told, Childs’s medical costs totaled $69,000 with $233,000 in estimated lost earnings both past and future. Childs retained the services of Lawrence R. Booth of Booth & Koskoff and Kevin Barnes of the Law Offices of Carl D. Barnes to represent him in a dangerous premises lawsuit against Alpha Beta Markets.

Child’s legal team argued that the accident was caused both by the ramp being in poor condition and excessively steep. The supermarket in question failed to replace the worn out abrasive strips on the ramp and negligently left a segment of piping adjacent to the ramp itself. That piping had been previously used as a fence post for a chain link fence years previously but had yet to be properly disposed of. Additionally next to the ramp stood a produce dumpster that was frequently overflowing with food. In fact, the initial cause of the accident was a loose piece of lettuce that had fallen from the produce dumpster. Childs slipped on that piece of lettuce and, during his fall, he smashed his knee against the piece of pipe.

This case ultimately went to trial at the conclusion of which the Jury found the Alpha Beta Markets to be 85% liable for the accident. The Plaintiff was awarded $1,000,000 gross, $850,000 net.

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