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Personal injury

May 26, 2010

Donna Saine v. Richard Walker, et al.

Marion Superior Court No. 49D05-0812-CT055117

Injuries: Severe ankle sprain resulting in extensive physical therapy and surgery to repair and replace torn ligaments; permanent nerve damage, swelling, instability, and surgical scarring

Date: March 9, 2010

Judge or Jury Trial: Jury trial

Judge: Hon. Robyn Moberly

Disposition: Verdict for plaintiff in the amount of $121,770.15. Total damages awarded were $143,259 and 85 percent fault on defendants

Plaintiff Attorneys: William E. Winingham and John G. Shubat, Wilson Kehoe & Winingham, Indianapolis

Defendant Attorney: Robert F. Ahlgrim Jr., State Farm Litigation Counsel, Indianapolis

Case Information: On Dec. 21, 2006, Donna was on her way downstairs in the home she was renting from defendants when she slipped and fell down the stairs. The stairs did not have a handrail adjacent to the staircase, although the staircase had 15 to 17 steps from top to bottom. Several Indiana building and safety codes require such a staircase to have a handrail available for the use of a person using the stairs. Donna asked the landlords on several occasions to install a handrail, but they refused. Defense contended that plaintiff could have moved out at any time.

Expert witnesses for the plaintiff were Dr. Jeffrey Soldatis of Orthopaedics Indianapolis, who operated on plaintiff’s ankle; and Lee Martin of Robson Forensic in Columbus, Ohio, an architect/building codes expert who testified as to code violations committed by defendants.

Attorney comments: Plaintiff made a settlement demand of $100,000 before trial, and State Farm offered $5,000 to settle the case. Defendants did not testify during the trial.

– William E. Winingham

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