And the Defense Wins!
On November 30, 2018, Carl Beckstedt and Emily Shoup of Beckstedt & Associates, together with co-counsel Jennifer Jones of Law Offices of Jennifer Jones, prevailed on behalf of the Defendant United Corporation in a jury trial in the Superior Court of the United States Virgin Islands, Division of St. Croix, Case No. SX-2016-CV-43.
Plaintiff and her minor daughter brought claims of negligence based on premises liability and bystander emotional distress against the Defendant, a local retail grocer, after an elderly driver drove up the disability access aisle and ramp and pinned the mother and daughter against the storefront as a result of pedal error. Plaintiff suffered a severe left distal femur fracture with displacement and vascular injury resulting in an above-knee amputation, while her daughter, fortunately, suffered only minor injuries. Plaintiff claimed in excess of $10 million dollars in future life care needs, together with pain and suffering and claims for bystander emotional distress.
The Defense was able to obtain bifurcation, although the Plaintiff presented during the liability phase wearing her prosthesis. Plaintiff put forth three liability experts who opined that the grocer should have installed security bollards to protect its storefront and not allowed nose-in parking. The Defense was successful in excluding one opinion under Daubert on the basis that the expert had not performed any analysis or testing to determine whether bollards at other retail stores were capable of stopping a vehicle incursion. The Defense’s engineer opined that the parking lot markings and configuration exceeded the minimum code requirements for a reasonably safe premises.
After a five-day trial, the jury deliberated two hours and returned a defense verdict.