Johnston v. Best Western Gold Country Inn was tried to jury verdict in Nevada County. The plaintiff claimed that she tripped and fell on a juniper bush that was obstructing a sidewalk. As a result of the trip-and-fall, the plaintiff dislocated her elbow. She incurred $6,500 in medical expenses due to injuries sustained in the incident. Plaintiff’s husband had a loss of consortium claim.
Jim argued that the juniper shrub was an open and obvious hazard. He got the plaintiff to admit during cross-examination that she had crossed the area where the incident occurred on at least six prior occasions without incident. At the time of the incident, the plaintiff was carrying a blanket and a wooden rocking chair. Additionally, the plaintiff was unsteady on her feet due to a prior incident. Jim argued that the reason that the plaintiff fell was because of her unstable gait.
The jury returned a defense verdict in Jim’s client’s favor. Since Jim had served the plaintiff’s attorney with a 998 when he answered the complaint, Jim’s principal was entitled to its ordinary and expert costs. The third-party administrator for Jim’s client was Precision Risk Management.