Slip-and-fall suit against Baptist Hospital heading to trial

David Yates Feb. 21, 2012, 6:19am

Jury selection in a slip-and-fall lawsuit against Memorial Hermann Baptist Beaumont Hospital began Wednesday in a Jefferson County court.

As the Southeast Texas Record previously reported, Sean Williams filed a lawsuit June 1, 2010, against Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas and Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, alleging Baptist Hospital failed to clean up water leaking from an air conditioning unit into a hallway, causing him to fall.

A courthouse official told the Record that trial is set to begin Feb. 22 in Judge Milton Shuffield's 136th District Court.

Court records show that in September 2010, Baptist Hospital unsuccessfully moved for summary judgment, arguing that "there is no evidence to support plaintiff's unsubstantiated contentions."

"The undisputed evidence here demonstrates that the condition of the premises was open and obvious ... and nothing prevented the plaintiff from seeing a puddle of water in the hallway," the motion states.

According to court papers, Williams claims he was visiting his grandfather at Memorial Hermann Baptist Beaumont Hospital on June 28, 2009, when the incident occurred.

"After visiting with his grandfather, he left the room and was walking down a hall in the hospital," the suit states. "As he was walking, he slipped in water on the floor and fell backwards, twisting his knee and hitting his back and head."

Following the fall, Williams noticed the water had come from under the door of a closet containing an air conditioning unit.

In his suit, Williams blames Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas for causing his fall, saying it failed to inspect and maintain its floors in a safe condition, failed to inspect and maintain the air conditioning unit so it did not leak water and failed to post warnings of the dangerous condition that existed in its hallway.

Williams will ask jurors to award him damages for his alleged medical costs, physical pain, suffering, physical impairment, disfigurement, mental anguish and lost his earnings.

David A. Bryant Jr. of The Bryant Law Firm in Spring represents him.

Baptist Hospital is represented by Woodland attorney Curry Cooksey of Orgain, Bell & Tucker.

Jefferson County District Court case number: D186-979

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