West Palm Partners, Lee Cohen and Stephen Harber, received a defense verdict in Palm Beach County. Plaintiff tripped and fell down a step leading to a platform at their client’s restaurant. The unrebutted evidence established that the step violated several different building codes. The plaintiff requested and received a jury instruction on each of the code violations being evidence of negligence. The defense argued, while the code violations were evidence of negligence, the conduct of the restaurant owner was reasonable as she retained a licensed contractor to build the steps and there were no prior incidents that would cause the defendant to have knowledge of a dangerous condition. The defense also argued that the plaintiff’s account of events was not consistent with what was shown on the video of the incident. The fall resulted in a two-level cervical fusion and past medical bills of $243,000. Plaintiff asked for $1.8 Million during closing argument. The jury deliberated fortwo hours before rendering a complete defense verdict.
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