We are pleased to announce that a Passaic County jury has awarded a $2.25 million verdict to Maria Santana, a mail sorter for DHL, who slipped and fell on black ice in the parking lot of her employer. A single mother and grandmother of one son and two grandchildren, Ms. Santana was represented by our Associate Todd Drayton of Martin, Kane, Kuper, LLC.
On February 3, 2011, Ms. Santana was heading into her place of employment in Rutherford when she slipped on a sheet of black ice. During the fall, Ms. Santana tore the medial meniscus in her left knee, which required arthroscopic surgery to repair, and suffered bulging discs in her lumbar spine at L4/L5 and L5/S1. She also suffered bilateral lumbar radiculopathies which continues to cause her pain and numbness that radiates from her low back down her legs into her feet.
Ms. Santana brought suit against the property owner, AMB Property Corporation, and the company responsible for snow and ice remediation at the property, Greg Tanzer Sprinklers and Outdoor Design (Docket Number L-0123-13). The trial continued for eight days and was presided over by the Honorable Randal Chiocca, J.S.C.
At trial, Mr. Drayton presented evidence from several witnesses, including an expert in orthopedic surgery who performed an independent medical examination of Ms. Santana and testified that Ms. Santana’s back and knee injuries were permanent. The expert opined that the prognosis was “poor” that Ms. Santana would ever be able to return to her pre-accident level of functioning. Therefore, Mr. Drayton argued that Ms. Santana’s damaged discs would deteriorate at much faster rate and to a more severe endpoint, and that she could look forward to a future marked by painful arthritis and by diminished functioning in both her left knee and low back. Mr. Drayton further argued that, given her age, Ms. Santana would likely need a total knee replacement in the future.
At the time of the fall, Ms. Santana was 52 years old, but had never suffered any injuries to her left knee or low back.
On Wednesday, October 28, 2015, the jury returned their multi-million dollar verdict in favor of Ms. Santana after only an hour of deliberations. They apportioned 70% of fault to the property owner and 30% of fault to the snow and ice remediation company.