David Vardaman and his wife Elizabeth received an early Christmas gift on Tuesday, Dec. 18 as Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, handed them a default judgment of $1,129, 857.08 for a slip and fall that occurred at the International House of Pancakes last year.

David came to IHOP for a stack of pancakes but left with an injury, which would in turn lead to a stack of cash. David claims he had just entered the restaurant, "when suddenly and without warning, he tripped over rolled up mats," said the plaintiffs' petition, filed with the Jefferson County District Court on Nov. 14.

The suit also named IHOP manager Abdallah Atiyeh as defendant.

IHOP and Atiyeh had until Dec. 17 to respond to the Vardamans' allegations by filing an answer. "However, defendant did not file an answer or a pleading and has not entered an appearance," the judgment said.

The incident occurred on Nov. 21, 2006. The suit says the mat that caused David injury was "improperly, negligently and carelessly placed on the premises."

"As a result…of defendants' negligence, plaintiff David Vardaman was caused to trip and fall resulting in…serious injuries and damages," the suit said.

However, neither the suit nor judgment describes the nature of David Vardaman's injuries.

The suit only says the defendants were grossly negligent for their blatant disregard for the health and safety of others.

The couple is represented by attorney Scott Browne of the Browne & Browne law firm.

Case No. D180-751

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