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D.C. Metro Verdicts

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Plaintiff: Painted concrete at hotel was hazardous when wet

Amount:

$300,000

Type:

Verdict-Plaintiff

State:

Virginia

Venue:

Federal

Court:

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division

Injury Type(s):

hip-fracture, hip; other-closed reduction; other-physical therapy; other-pins/rods/screws; other-reconstructive surgery; surgeries/treatment-open reduction; mental/psychological-depression; mental/psychological-emotional distress; mental/psychological-post-traumatic stress disorder

Case Type:

Premises Liability - Hotel or Motel; Slips, Trips & Falls - Slip and Fall; Worker/Workplace Negligence - Negligent Maintenance

Case Name:

Lynda Salcido v. Marriott International Inc., Hersha Hospitality Management L.P., 44 Alexandria Hotel LLC, and 44 Alexandria Hotel Management LLC, No. 1:15-cv-00508-TSE-JFA

Date:

March 4, 2016

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Lynda Salcido (Female, 60s)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Erin E. Witte; Surovell Isaacs Petersen & Levy PLC; Fairfax, VA, for Lynda Salcido

Plaintiff Expert(s):

J. Reid; M.D.; Orthopedic Surgery; Hershey, PA called by: Erin E. Witte ■ Murat Akalin; M.D.; Psychiatry; Mammoth Lakes, CA called by: Erin E. Witte ■ Gregory Payton; Ph.D.; Psychology/Counseling; New York, NY called by: Erin E. Witte ■ Gregory Harrison; Ph.D., P.E.; Engineering; Gaithersburg, MD called by: Erin E. Witte

Defendant(s):

44 Alexandria Hotel LLC, 

Marriott International Inc., 

44 Alexandria Hotel Management LLC, 

Hersha Hospitality Management L.P.

Defense Attorney(s):

Patrick K. Burns; Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, LLP; Washington, DC, for 44 Alexandria Hotel LLC, Marriott International Inc., 44 Alexandria Hotel Management LLC, Hersha Hospitality Management L.P. ■ Stuart L. Peacock; Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, LLP; Washington, DC, for 44 Alexandria Hotel LLC, Marriott International Inc., 44 Alexandria Hotel Management LLC, Hersha Hospitality Management L.P.

Defendant Expert(s):

Ryan Shugarman; Psychiatry; Alexandria, VA called by: Patrick K. Burns, Stuart L. Peacock ■ Daniel Isackson; Architecture; Baltimore, MD called by: Patrick K. Burns, Stuart L. Peacock

Facts:

On April 19, 2013, plaintiff Lynda Salcido, early 60s, a public health director, slipped and fell at the Marriott Courtyard Alexandria Pentagon South in Alexandria. Salcido, a hotel customer, was returning to the hotel in a taxi with her husband. It was raining and windy at the time. After walking a couple of steps from the cab, she slipped on a painted concrete surface and landed on her right hip, fracturing it. Salcido sued franchisor Marriott International, franchisee 44 Alexandria Hotel Management LLC, property manager Hersha Hospitality Management L.P., and property owner 44 Alexandria Hotel LLC on claims of negligence. Salcido's counsel faulted the hotel for removing safety mats used to cover the slippery entranceway just prior to Salcido's accident. According to Salcido, another hotel guest who tried to assist her also slipped and fell into the hotel door. A witness testified that a medical technician tending to Salcido slipped as well. Salcido asserted the hotel was aware of the entranceway's danger when the painted concrete was wet. The concrete had been stamped to resemble paving stones or bricks. The defense maintained that the slip resistance of the surface was adequate and Salcido was contributorily negligent in not paying attention to where she was walking. The defense's architectural expert administered a portable slip-resistance test on the hotel walkway surface by pouring water on it. The expert concluded that the coefficient of friction was high enough to be slip-resistant. Salcido's engineering expert criticized the defense expert's testing, opining that the test was unreliable and flawed, primarily because it inadequately tested the walkway surface's coefficient of friction.

Injury:

Salcido was taken by ambulance to a hospital where it was determined that the impact of the fall drove Salcido's right femur through her hip socket. Salcido was transferred to a hospital in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where she underwent an acetabular reconstruction which involved open reduction with internal fixation. She remained hospitalized for five days and then stayed in a Hershey hotel for two and a half weeks. Due to the extent of her injury, Salcido was unable to fly commercially. As a result, she used $20,000 of her retirement savings to pay for a private plane to fly her back to her home in Mammoth Lakes, California. Salcido consulted with an orthopedic surgeon and treated with physical therapy for the next year. She claimed her injury caused her to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, for which she treated with a psychiatrist. Salcido's orthopedic surgeon discussed the injury and the surgery, and opined that Salcido has a 10- to 15-percent chance of developing arthritis in her right hip. Salcido's psychiatrist and psychology expert causally related Salcido's depression and PTSD to her hip injury. Salcido testified that she made a good recovery, both physically and psychologically. Living in a ski town, Salcido said she hopes to return to cross-country skiing. Salcido sought to recover about $130,000 in past medical costs and approximately $37,000 in lost wages. (Salcido missed work through August, at which time she went back to work part-time, until returning to full-time work in 2014.) She also sought damages for past and future pain and suffering.

Result:

The jury found the defendants liable and determined that Salcido's damages totaled $300,000.

Trial Information:

Judge:

T.S. Ellis III

Demand:

$425,000

Offer:

$125,000

Trial Length:

4  days

Trial Deliberations:

2  hours

Editor's Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff's and defense counsel.