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Store Pays Family $500,000 for Trip and Fall Over Aisle Display

Amount: $500,000
Court: Lorain County Common Pleas
Plaintiff’s Counsel: David M. Paris & Dana M. Paris

Our client’s mother, age 79, went to a neighborhood drug store to shop for some Christmas ornaments. As she turned from one aisle, she passed an aisle display that had been set up at the end cap. The aisle display contained large bags of bird seed stacked about 4 feet high. The bird seed had been delivered to the store by the supplier on a 4 x 4 wooden pallet, and the defendant’s employees merely transported the pallet using a pallet jack and deposited it at the end cap. The bird seed had been depleted over a period of several days well below 36” and in one corner, down to the pallet, in violation of store guidelines. This allowed an exposed corner to pose a tripping hazard to customers. Our client tripped and fell, striking her head on the floor and developed a cerebral bleed primarily due to being on a blood thinner.  She passed away shortly thereafter. The defense argued that the defect was open and obvious, negating any affirmative duty to correct the condition.

Experts were retained to express opinions on safe merchandising practices. Medical experts were also retained to address the life expectancy of our client’s mother in view of her other medical co-morbidities.

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