Jury awards $1,100,000 in fast-food restroom slip & fall; the Life Activity Calendar validated plaintiff's loss of quality of life.
Robert W. Johnson & Associates was retained to prepare a Life Activity Calendar that would be used to counter the defense assertion that plaintiff’s complaints were fabricated or exaggerated.
Location: Palm Springs, California
Case: Nichols vs. CEO Foods, Inc., dba Jack-in -the-Box
Court: Riverside County, California, No. 1-66449
Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Stephen H. Heller, Heller & Owen, Encino, California
Case Synopsis: Mrs. Kimberly Nichols, a 22-year-old mother of one, used the ladies restroom at the local Jack-in-the-Box. While she was inside, two employees standing outside the restroom door stated in a loud voice, “It sure stinks out here. Get the spray."
While Mrs. Nichols stood at the sink adjacent to the door, one employee sprayed air freshener under the door onto the restroom floor. Mrs. Nichols, standing next to the door, felt wetness on her foot and saw foam coming out from under the door. She was humiliated and embarrassed and chose to leave the restroom immediately. She took a step as she reached for the door knob and immediately slipped on the foam residue or invisible mist and landed on the concrete floor. Mrs. Nichols complained to the Jack-in-the-Box store manager about the offensive behavior of the employees and her fall, but did not fill out an accident report or complain of injuries.
The initial diagnosis, the following day, was a lumbar strain. An MRI, several months later, confirmed ruptured disks at L4-5 and L5-S1. Her doctors testified that she required a diskectomy, fusion and internal fixation to stabilize her spine.
The defense contended that: (a) the fall never occurred; (b) she never told the manager she was hurt, (c) a few days after the fall Mrs. Nichols had fallen at home and did not tell a doctor, whom she saw five days later, that she had fallen at Jack-in-the-Box, (d) the MRI confirmed a ruptured disk but there was no nerve root encroachment, (e) there was no need for surgery, and (f) plaintiffs complaints were exaggerated or fabricated.