D.C. Metro Verdicts

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Falldown – Elevator – Wet Floor

Amount:

$1,800,000

Type:

Verdict-Plaintiff

State:

Maryland

Venue:

Howard County

Injury Type(s):

back-fusion; lumbar
back-herniated disc; lumbar
neck-herniated disc; lumbar
shoulder-rotator cuff; injury (tear)
foot/heel-foot drop (drop foot) surgeries/treatment-laminectomy

Case Type:

Falldown – Negligence – Professional Services –

Case Name:

Rondra Marcelli v. Capital Cleaning Concepts, Inc.

Date:

December 3, 2012

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Rondra Marcelli (Female, 48 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Francis C. Lanasa;
;
Lutherville,
MD,
for
Rondra Marcelli

Defendant(s):

Capital Cleaning Concepts, Inc.

Defense Attorney(s):

Kristine R. Zenkewicz;
;
Baltimore,
MD,
for
Capital Cleaning Concepts, Inc. ■ Stephen J. Marshall;
;
Baltimore,
MD,
for
Capital Cleaning Concepts, Inc.

Facts:

A Howard County jury awarded $1,800,000 to a nurse who claimed she fell in an elevator due to the negligence of a cleaning company. Liability was disputed, as was injury causation. The jury’s award to the plaintiff was reduced to the ad damnum of $1,500,000. Following the verdict, the plaintiff had requested to increase the ad damnum to $15 million, but the request was denied. The defendant’s post-trial motions for JNOV, new trial and remittitur were pending at the time of publication. Plaintiff Rondra Marcelli was a nurse employed in a building owned by Howard County and maintained by Defendant Capital Cleaning Concepts, Inc. Plaintiff slipped and fell in a wet substance as she stepped into an elevator. According to plaintiff, defendant’s employees had cleaned the elevator within minutes of her using it. There were no witnesses to the fall. Plaintiff alleged that defendant’s employees failed to warn that the area inside the elevator was wet and also failed to place warning signs or take the elevator out of service until the floor had dried. Plaintiff claimed she was directed by security guards after the incident to speak to defendant’s supervisor, which she said bolstered her claim that the floor had been recently cleaned. Plaintiff asserted that she sustained multiple lumbar disc herniations, for which she underwent several surgeries. She also claimed a rotator cuff injury. As a result of the disc herniations and ensuing surgeries, plaintiff claimed she developed foot drop and that she was unable to return to work. Plaintiff sought economic and non-economic damages. Defendant contended that its employees were not negligent and there was no proof that the wet substance was created by its employees. Defendant argued that any damp mopping done in the elevator was performed at least 25 minutes prior to plaintiff’s fall and that the floor was not wet as a result of their work. Alternatively, defendant claimed that plaintiff was contributorily negligent and/or assumed the risk of injury. Defendant maintained that plaintiff was able to return to work in some capacity and that her foot drop was likely due to pre-existing back problems.Plaintiff was a 48-year-old married female who was a nurse.

Injury:

Lumbar disc herniations, necessitating two fusion surgeries and a laminectomy, as well as a rotator cuff injury. Plaintiff developed foot drop and was unable to return to work as a nurse. She sought $262,692 in past medicals and $183,844 in past lost wages, plus damages for permanent pain and suffering.

Result:

$1,800,000, which was reduced to the ad damnum of $1,500,000. Breakdown: $262,692 for past medicals; $183,844 for past lost wages; $573,268 for future medicals; $470,196 for future lost wages; and $310,000 non-economic damages.

Trial Information:

Judge:

Timothy J. McCrone

Trial Deliberations:

4
 hours

Editor’s Comment:

Defendant was expected to appeal if post-trial motions were denied.