Social Worker Awarded $1 Million after Slipping in Public School

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

Plaintiff, a social worker, was entering P.S. 132 in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn when she fell on a wet floor. She alleged the negligence of the school’s custodial staff produced a dangerous condition which caused her to fall and break her ankle. Plaintiff argued the school’s staff was aware that rain and snow had created the wet conditions yet failed to correct the situation.

Plaintiff underwent surgery involving metal hardware to stabilize her ankle. The hardware was taken out during a subsequent surgery. She claimed she had a decrease in her range of motion and participated in physical therapy multiple times a week for five months.

The Department of Education, the school’s operator, contended that mats were placed on the lobby floor and that Plaintiff has slipped outside of P.S. 132 on an icy sidewalk further up Manhattan Avenue. Defense counsel presented photos of mats that were deployed. However, a witness who was in charge of deploying the mats testified that he would not have deployed the mats in the manner depicted in the photographs.

The Jury found the Department of Education entirely liable for the accident and so awarded Plaintiff damages. The damages which aggregated $1 Million included $500,000 for past pain and suffering, $450,000 for future pain and suffering, and $50,000 for future medical expenses.

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