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Post & Schell Secures Unanimous Jury Verdict for Condominium Association in Chester County Court of Common Pleas

On October 8, 2021, a twelve-person jury found in favor of The Commons at Thornbury, a Condominium Association, and Thornbury Noble, Ltd. in a case involving a plaintiff with a head injury that sought $9.5 million in damages. Both entities were defended by Post & Schell Casualty Litigation Principal Marc Perry and Associate Joel Feigenbaum. The defendants are insured by the Hanover Insurance Group.

The case involved a slip and fall that occurred in the interior lobby of the Calista Grand Salon located in The Commons of Thornbury Shopping Center in West Chester, Pennsylvania. The plaintiff alleged that snow mitigation efforts by the Condominium Association, which controlled the exterior of the Shopping Center, and its principal member, Thornbury Noble Ltd., specifically the use of calcium chloride pellets on the sidewalks, led to her slipping inside of the Salon and sustaining a significant head injury. The plaintiff alleged that her injuries caused severe symptoms, including photophobia, phonophobia, dizziness, headaches, imbalance, slurred speech, difficulty concentrating, and nausea, and that the significant cognitive effects of her injuries kept her from working at her $165,000 a year job. The plaintiff also alleged that inadequate floor mats and the defendants’ use of calcium chloride pellets, which were known to be tracked into the lobby and constituted a tripping hazard, were at fault for her fall.

Via CC video footage, the defense was able to show that the plaintiff was distracted at the time of her fall, looking at her open laptop, partially obstructing her view of the floor conditions as she walked. Although defense experts conceded that the plaintiff did suffer a head injury, her subjective complaints were inconsistent with concussion symptoms – increasing in severity over time as opposed to declining or remaining stagnant. The plaintiff’s treating physicians documented that her objective and subjective concussion symptomatology was essentially resolved within several months of her accident, however, these opinions were in sharp contrast to the findings of doctors later hired by the plaintiff’s legal counsel.

The jury returned a unanimous verdict for the defense, finding that only Calista Grand Salon was 55% negligent and the plaintiff 45 percent negligent for her own injuries. The plaintiff had sought $9.5 million in damages for past and future medical expenses, lost past and future earnings and fringe benefits, and pain and suffering. The jury ultimately awarded the plaintiff 55 percent of $439,000 in damages and her partner received $7,500 for his loss of consortium claim.