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Brannock Berman & Seider Obtains Summary Affirmance in Personal Injury Appeal

Following written briefing and oral argument, Brannock Berman & Seider successfully persuaded the Second District Court of Appeal to uphold, without comment, a $1.3 million final judgment entered after a weeklong jury trial.

The case involved an unfortunate accident in the entryway of a Wal-Mart store in Palm Harbor. The plaintiff sustained serious injuries—two fractures, requiring four surgeries and other medical treatments—when she slipped and fell on a wet area of the tile floor caused by customers tracking water inside from a rainstorm. At trial, the plaintiff showed that Wal-Mart knew that the tile floor got wet and became a hazard during similar storms, that employees knew the very spot that caused the accident was wet before the plaintiff slipped on it, and that there had been previous slips and falls just like this one at the same store. The plaintiff also proved that Wal-Mart has adopted safety policies to help prevent accidents like this from happening, but that those policies were not followed here.

After considering all the evidence at trial, the jury found that Wal-Mart was negligent, assigned 75% of the blame to Wal-Mart and 25% to the plaintiff, and awarded the plaintiff damages for her past and future medical expenses, past and future loss of earnings, and past and future pain and suffering. Unhappy with the result, Wal-Mart filed post-trial motions, which were denied, and then an extensive appeal that raised three substantive issues related to Wal-Mart’s legal duty and the trial court’s evidentiary rulings.

Brannock Berman & Seider represented the plaintiff on appeal, successfully knocking down all of Wal-Mart’s arguments. Shortly after oral argument was held in Tampa, the Second District issued a per curiam affirmance, fully upholding the verdict and judgment in the plaintiff’s favor. The appellate court also awarded the plaintiff her attorney’s fees, resulting in a complete victory for this client.