Hugh Emory Secures Jury Trial Verdict Denying Personal Injury Claim

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On June 4th, a Carbon County jury rendered a defense verdict in favor of one of C&W’s ski resort clients.  The plaintiff claimed that she suffered significant orthopedic and neurological injuries to two fingers on her left hand which required surgical intervention. The plaintiff slipped  and fell as she was walking on a walkway through the resort parking lot after a day of skiing with her husband and stepson.  Although there had not been any snow or other inclement weather for four days, photographs and a video taken by the plaintiff’s husband with a smartphone immediately after the accident, appeared to show icy and slippery conditions at the accident scene.  Although the resort had a ski patrol report showing that first aid was provided to the plaintiff, it did not have any investigation reports concerning the accident itself.  The plaintiff was, and is, a surgeon and was not able to perform surgeries for several months.  In addition, she was concerned about the effect the injury might have on her ability to perform surgery in the future.  She presented a claim for lost earnings and medical expenses of $27,929.96.

As the result of a pre-trial conference, the plaintiff filed a Motion in Limine to preclude the defense from presenting evidence that it did not have a record of any other slip and fall accidents in its parking lot or on its walkways on the day of the accident or since the last snowfall four days before the accident.  The plaintiff argued that the absence of a report did not mean that other people had not slipped and fallen on icy walkways, but simply that they had not reported such accidents to the resort.  In turn, Hugh Emory, Esq. filed a Motion in Limine to preclude testimony from a liability expert identified by the plaintiff.  The defense argued that, in essence, the expert was not going to say much more than the resort should not have icy walkways, and that a jury did not need expert opinion on this subject.  The Court granted both Motions. 

The trial focused on the liability issue.  In a 10-2 decision, the jury found that the resort was not negligent.  It thus did not consider verdict questions on the issues of causation, comparative negligence or damages.  The plaintiff did not file a post-trial motion.

This was Hugh Emory’s third jury trial and defense verdict for a ski area client since joining C&W in an “of counsel” capacity in January of 2012. 

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