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Slip, fall in unplowed parking lot caused leg amputation: plaintiff








Philadelphia County


Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas

Injury Type(s):

leg-fracture (fracture, femur);
other-swelling; other-prosthesis; other-physical therapy; amputation-leg (leg (above the knee))

Case Type:

Slips, Trips & Falls; Premises Liability – Parking Lot, Snow and Ice, Dangerous Condition, Negligent Repair and/or Maintenance

Case Name:

David Barnes and Deborah Barnes v. Alcoa Inc. f/k/a The Pittsburgh Reduction Co. and Aluminum Co. of America, Aees Inc. f/k/a Aloca Fujikura Inc., Alcoa Inter-America Inc., Alcoa Service Corp., Kawneer Co. Inc., and G & M Crawford Inc.,
No. 121200844


October 31, 2014



David Barnes (Male, 59 Years), 

Deborah Barnes (Female)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Robert J. Mongeluzzi;
Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky PC;
David Barnes, Deborah Barnes ■ Jeffrey P. Goodman;
Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky PC;
David Barnes, Deborah Barnes

Plaintiff Expert(s):

Guy Fried;
Physical Medicine;
PA called by
Robert J. Mongeluzzi, Jeffrey P. Goodman ■ John Allin;

PA called by
Robert J. Mongeluzzi, Jeffrey P. Goodman ■ John Parenti;
Orthopedic Surgery;
PA called by
Robert J. Mongeluzzi, Jeffrey P. Goodman ■ David Hopkins;
King of Prussia,
PA called by
Robert J. Mongeluzzi, Jeffrey P. Goodman ■ Frank Dominick III;

PA called by
Robert J. Mongeluzzi, Jeffrey P. Goodman ■ Gregg Frazier;
Property Management;
PA called by
Robert J. Mongeluzzi, Jeffrey P. Goodman ■ Daniel Rappucci;

Vocational Rehabilitation;
PA called by
Robert J. Mongeluzzi, Jeffrey P. Goodman ■ Raymond Lee;
Weather Conditions;
PA called by
Robert J. Mongeluzzi, Jeffrey P. Goodman ■ Kimberly Kushner;
Life Care Planning;
Bala Cynwyd,
PA called by
Robert J. Mongeluzzi, Jeffrey P. Goodman


Aees Inc., 

Alcoa Inc., 

Kawneer Co. Inc., 

Alcoa Service Corp., 

G & M Crawford Inc., 

Alcoa Inter-America Inc.

Defense Attorney(s):

David T. Bush;
Forry Ullman Attorneys at Law;
King of Prussia,
G & M Crawford Inc. ■ Michael J.R. Schalk;
K&L Gates LLP;
Aees Inc., Alcoa Inc., Kawneer Co. Inc., Alcoa Service Corp., Alcoa Inter-America Inc. ■ Michael F. Schleigh;
Forry Ullman Attorneys at Law;
King of Prussia,
G & M Crawford Inc.


On Feb. 8, 2011, plaintiff David Barnes, 59, a production worker, was leaving his job at Kawneer Co. Inc., at 500 E. 12 St., in Bloomsburg. Barnes claimed that as he walked through the company’s parking lot to his car, he stepped on some snow which was covering a patch of ice, and he slipped. He suffered a fractured left femur, which resulted in an above-the-knee amputation. Barnes sued Kawneer Co., parent Alcoa Inc., and affiliated entities, and G & M Crawford Inc., which had a contract with Kawneer to provide snow-removal services, on claims of negligent performance of contractual services. (Since Barnes was statutorily barred from pursuing claims against his employer, Kawneer was dismissed. Alcoa motioned for a non-suit, arguing that Kawneer was the property owner, not Alcoa. The court granted the motion, and the Alcoa was dismissed.) According to Barnes’ expert in meteorology, there had been snowstorms about two weeks prior to Barnes’ accident. Excessive snow resulted in a pattern of melting and freezing, which would create dangerous and slippery conditions in the Kawneer parking lot. Even if an area were plowed, the expert stated, it could be hazardous the next day. On Feb. 8, hours prior to Barnes’ accident, a brief snowfall dusted the parking lot, concealing the patch of ice he slipped on, according to the expert. Barnes’ counsel argued that G & M Crawford failed in its contractual duties to provide adequate snow-removal services in the parking lot during the snowstorms, by insufficiently salting the property and plowing only where vehicles traveled but not paths used by pedestrians to access vehicles. The Kawneer plant was a 24-hour operation with three shift changes. This required G & M Crawford, asserted Barnes’ counsel, to be highly vigilant of weather conditions and to ensure that the parking lot was regularly plowed and salted. Instead, the defendant had last plowed about one week prior to Barnes’ accident and had left the lot unattended during that week, despite subsequent precipitation. Moreover, on Feb. 7, G & M Crawford was at the plant to drop off materials and should have observed the parking lot’s conditions, and responded by applying salt or plowing, asserted counsel. An expert in snow management criticized G & M Crawford’s services, stating that there was a lack of attention to the parking lot and ineffectiveness in the way the company plowed and distributed salt. According to the expert, G & M Crawford should have instituted a rotational parking plan which would have relocated the vehicles to allow for proper plowing. Barnes’ expert in property management testified about layout issues of the parking lot and stated that G & M Crawford and the property owner (allegedly, Alcoa) did not coordinate proper snow-removal services. The defense maintained that G & M Crawford fulfilled its contractual duties by properly servicing the parking lot, as the company had for the prior 40 years. In their testimonies, Kawneer management witnesses confirmed that G & M Crawford was not permitted to salt or plow between parked vehicles. Barnes had fallen in an area recently vacated by parked vehicles, and it was not possible for G & M Crawford to clear all areas of the property. G & M Crawford’s counsel pointed out that Barnes admitted that he was not paying attention as he walked, even though an eyewitness co-worker called out for him to watch his step. Barnes also reportedly admitted that he had walked through the same area earlier that morning without incident. Moreover, there had been an unpredicted 10-to-15-minute snow-squall approximately a half-hour before the accident.


Barnes was taken by ambulance to an emergency room, where he was X-rayed and diagnosed with a fracture to his left femur, directly above the knee. It was also determined that Barnes was suffering complications from a prior left-knee replacement (he had undergone several) which had become infected. He was transferred to a larger hospital. A femur fracture would generally be treated with open reduction and internal fixation surgery, by way of a rod and screws, but Barnes’ infected knee replacement prevented such treatment. This resulted in an amputation above the left knee, two days later. After about a month of hospitalization and rehabilitation, Barnes was discharged home, and he continued physical therapy, which he is expected to undergo indefinitely. During rehabilitation, Barnes was fitted with a prosthesis; however, he is unable to walk independently, and requires a cane and sometimes a walker. Barnes’ orthopedic surgeon discussed his knee complications and why an amputation was necessary. The physician said the location of the fracture required him to remove more of Barnes’ leg than he wanted, which contributes to Barnes’ difficulty in wearing a prosthesis. Barnes’ prosthetist testified about his prosthetic needs and the replacements he will require in the future. A prosthetic leg typically lasts three to five years, and costs $50,000 each year, concluded the expert. An expert in physical medicine outlined Barnes’ future treatment (his life expectancy was projected for another 20 years), including physical therapy, which he receives depending on his condition. Barnes sought $965,000 to $1.1 million in future medical costs. Barnes’ expert in vocational rehabilitation deemed him permanently disabled. Barnes sought lost earnings of $260,000 to $430,000. Barnes testified that he had worked at Kawneer for 40 years, having started after high school, and worked six days a week, eight- to 10-hour days. He described himself as active, as he enjoyed golfing, being outdoors, and fixing up his house. Since the accident, Barnes has reportedly led a sedentary lifestyle; his days are spent playing games on the computer. According to Barnes, walking a block is problematic and requires enormous exertion. He reportedly has difficulty wearing his prosthetic leg, which causes an impaired gait and makes him prone to fall. Moreover, it causes his amputated limb to swell and become painful. Barnes sought unspecified damages for past and future pain and suffering. Barnes’ wife, who discussed the difficulty of maintaining a house due to her husband’s condition, sought to recover damages for her claim for loss of consortium. The defense had Kawneer’s treating orthopedic surgeons, who treated Barnes’ knee before the accident, testify. The surgeons said they had discussed with Barnes, prior to the accident, whether amputation would be in his best interest. They reviewed with Barnes the costs versus benefits of amputation as opposed to continuing costly future knee replacements, and treatment options. The defense maintained that, regardless of the accident, Barnes was slated to have a leg amputation.


The jury found G & M Crawford negligent, and its negligence was a factual cause of Barnes’ injuries. Jurors determined Barnes was comparatively negligent but his negligence was not a factual cause of his injuries. The plaintiffs were determined to receive $1.3 million.

David Barnes: $400,000 Personal Injury: Future Medical Cost; $149,000 Personal Injury: Past Lost Earnings Capability; $297,000 Personal Injury: Future Lost Earnings Capability; $85,000 Personal Injury: Past Pain And Suffering; $169,000 Personal Injury: Future Pain And Suffering; Deborah Barnes: $200,000 Personal Injury: loss of consortium

Trial Information:


Rosalyn K. Robinson


$6 million


None reported.

Trial Length:


Trial Deliberations:


Post Trial:

Plaintiffs’ counsel filed motions challenging the court’s non-suit in favor of Alcoa Inc.

Editor’s Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiffs’ and defense counsel.