$300,000 Jury Verdict for Slip and Fall at Newark Airport

Blume Forte represented a woman who, while entering into the terminal at Newark Airport, fell near the airport’s short term parking area. In the early morning hours, our client walked towards the entrance of the terminal building. She was alone. She saw what she thought might be a “suspicious” person loitering near the walkway, and in an effort to protect herself she decided to walk in a different direction. As she began to walk to the right of the walkway towards another door entering the terminal, she fell from an elevated curb. She suffered a torn rotator cuff (shoulder injury) and a comminuted fracture of the left foot at the 2nd 3rd and 4th metatarsals. She was caused to wear a “boot” for two months and was in a wheelchair during that time. Blume Forte argued at trial that the curb should have been delineated to indicate a height difference, and it was reasonably foreseeable that pedestrians would walk in that area; especially since there was no “Do Not Enter” signage. The Port Authority for New York and New Jersey argued that this area was not intended for pedestrian traffic, that the curb was in compliance with parking lot guidelines and standards and no accentuation of the curb line was necessary. Moreover, the defense asserted that an accentuation of the curb line would be confusing to passersby because they would think the area was open to pedestrians. A jury found that the Port Authority was negligent, and their negligence was a proximate cause of the accident. The jury apportioned 50% liability to the Port Authority and 50% liability to the plaintiff and awarded her $300,000. The verdict was molded by the court to $150,000 in consideration of her percentage of fault.