Verdicts and Settlements:
$500,000 Verdict For Flea Market Patron
Mr. Sitinas obtained a $500,000 jury verdict for a 64-year-old woman who was injured while shopping at an outdoor flea market situated in a parking lot. While browsing at various items on display, the plaintiff's foot slid down a depression and lodged in a crevice. As a result, she fell and badly fractured her ankle, requiring her to undergo surgery for the insertion of a plate and screws.
Mr. Sitinas sued the owners of both the flea market and the parking lot that operated the location during the week, alleging that the parking lot was defective and dangerous for patrons of the flea market. The defendants contended that the lot was reasonably safe, that the plaintiff failed to see an open and obvious condition, and that they had no specific knowledge of the defect.
Mr. Sitinas was able to prove that both defendants had actual knowledge of the defect, as they had made numerous prior pothole repairs to the parking lot, including the area where the plaintiff fell. Furthermore, Mr. Sitinas retained an engineer who opined that the parking lot was not safe to walk around in and that the defendants used substandard repair methods that contributed to the creation of this depression and crevice. Mr. Sitinas also emphasized that the reason the plaintiff did not see the hole was because she was looking to her right and left at the merchandise for sale. He argued that after diverting her attention to the merchandise it was trying to sell, the defendant should not benefit from the argument that the plaintiff was not looking at the ground in front of her. The jury agreed and awarded the plaintiff $500,000 in compensation. Interestingly, immediately prior to jury selection, the defendants had offered $250,000 to settle this case. A mediator on behalf of the Court suggested that this settlement amount was fair and should be accepted. Mr. Sitinas and his client disagreed and instead proceeded to trial.