Hospital Visitor Settles Slip And Fall Action In Florida State Court For $1.6 Million After Indemnification Battle Between Hospital, Contractors, And Roofing Company
On May 24, 2012, while visiting her mother's hospital bedside at Palms West Hospital, plaintiff Earletta Blackwood slipped and fell on the floor, striking an object as she landed. Medical personnel quickly entered and witnessed her on the floor and the pool of water extending from the window area of the wall. Plaintiff sustained cervical and lumbar spine injuries requiring a two-level lumbar laminectomy and discectomy with fusion and cage, a cervical discectomy with fusion, a lumbar spine pain pump trial implant, and a lumbar spinal cord stimulator. Plaintiff had past medical costs that exceeded $500,000 and future medical needs allegedly exceeding $3,000,000.
Plaintiff filed a premises liability action against Palms West Hospital on Dec. 23, 2013, in the Circuit Court of Palm Beach County, FL. Palms West filed a third-party complaint against Charles Perry Partners, Inc. (CPPI), Salvador Construction, Inc., and Certified Roofing Specialist, Inc. for contractual indemnity, common law indemnity, and breach of contract. CPPI filed a filed a fourth-party complaint and cross-claims against Salvador and Certified Roofing for contractual indemnity, common law indemnity, and breach of contract. The action was assigned to Judge Donald Hafele.
Plaintiff argued that the hospital had a non-delegable duty to its invitees to maintain safe premises and give warning of hazardous conditions and defects. Palms West argued that it did not create the condition and that the condition was caused by general contractor CPPI. CPPI argued that the condition was the responsibility of subcontractor, Salvador Construction, which argued that Certified Roofing held responsibility. The action proceeded to mediation before Hon. Fred Hazouri.
On Nov. 3, 2016, the parties reached a settlement of $1,600,000, with contributions as follows: CPPI - $550,000; Salvador - $300,000; Certified Roofing - $375,000; Palms West - $325,000; and Trinity - $50,000. Plaintiff's demand was $3,200,000.
According to plaintiff's attorney Salesia V. Smith-Gordon, this was a complex premises liability action because of intertwined contractual agreements, indemnification and torts with multiple defendant parties and more than 12 defense lawyers arguing contractual liability amongst themselves. Neither liability nor causation was argued against plaintiff. Plaintiff's position never wavered in that the property owner Palms West held the ultimate responsibility to Ms. Blackwood as a non-delegable duty which could not be transferred. Plaintiff's position strengthened during extensive discovery to learn the hospital knew of hazards because of previous water intrusions in the rooms adjacent and above where Ms. Blackwood fell and that contractual documents with the contractor gave notice of the potential risk.
Plaintiff was represented by Salesia V. Smith-Gordon of Law Office of Salesia V. Smith-Gordon and David Glatthorn of Law office of David Glatthorn. Defense attorneys, divided by the parties they represented, included Palms West Hospital: Michael Schwebel and Rina Clemens of Billing Cochran and RoryJurman and Jesse Drawas of Fowler White; Salvador Construction: Earleen Cote and Jill Aberback of Kubicki Draper; Charles Perry Partners: Kent Pratt of Pratt & Radford and Christine Hoke and Michael Gore of Ciklin Lubitz & O’Connell; Certified Roofing Specialists: Reginald Clyne and Lissette Eusebio of Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer and Mark Ruff, Jr., and George Kastrenakes of Wicker Smith O'Hara McCoy & Ford.
Lexis Advance Subscribers may view the complete summary, including expert witness information, here: Earletta T. Blackwood v. Palms West Hospital Limited Partnership v. Charles Perry Partners, Inc.; Charles Perry Partners, Inc. v. Salvador Construction, Inc. and Certified Roofing Specialists, Inc; 2016 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 4781.
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