Joshua Bovender wins defense verdict in Northampton County case involving a Plaintiff who fell through the Defendants’ floor.
April 20, 2018
The Plaintiff was a tenant on a farm where he had lived with his father for over 10 years before the fall. He and his father sold the farm to the Defendants in 2012, but the Defendants allowed them to continuing living on the farm as tenants. After the lease ended, Plaintiff and his father did not timely vacate the property. The farm property had several outbuildings, including an old dilapidated springhouse. Plaintiff fell through the floor of the springhouse while moving out of the property. He suffered an L3 burst fracture and underwent an instrumented fusion from L1-L5. Plaintiff sued the Defendants, alleging that the Defendants knew of the dangerous condition and forced Plaintiff to encounter it by refusing to extend his deadline to vacate the property. The dangerous condition of the floor was not disputed.
At trial, the judge allowed evidence to be submitted to the jury that the Defendants were insured against personal injury, reasoning that the insurance evidenced the Defendants’ control over the springhouse. The jury deliberated for less than 2 hours and concluded that Plaintiff’s own negligence, not that of the Defendants, was the greater cause of his alleged injuries. Plaintiff’s comparative negligence thus barred any recovery against the Defendants.