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Personal injury

May 26, 2010
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Trial Report

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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  1. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  4. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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