Defense attorney: Plaintiff staged fall at Chick-fil-A

By David Yates | May 7, 2008

Chick-fil-A at Parkdale Mall

Instead of going to the hospital after she fell at a Chick-fil-A, Theresa Wilson got up, walked out and ran straight to a trial lawyer's office, said defense attorney Kyle Hawes as the trial of Wilson v. Chick-fil-A kicked off Tuesday, May 6.

Wilson had journeyed to the Chick-fil-A nestled inside the food court at Parkdale Mall on Oct. 7, 2003, just a few minutes before the restaurant opened. But before she could order, Wilson's feet came up from underneath her, causing her to hit the floor "hard," according to her attorney, Joseph Jannise.

In his opening remarks, Jannise told jurors the store's floor had recently been cleaned with a greasy mop, a dangerous condition Chick-fil-A's managers were aware of, yet still negligently flipped on the "open" sign without posting "wet floor signs."

In rebuttal, defense attorney Hawes contended the floor had been cleaned the night before, not that morning.

Pulling no punches, Hawes called into question the truth of Wilson's entire story.

"The truth before you will show this was a staged fall," Hawes told jurors. "The evidence will show that Mrs. Wilson fell down twice."

Both attorneys said while eye witnesses will testify that they saw two different types of falls, no witness will testify that they saw Wilson fall two times.

Some eye witnesses saw Wilson fall to one knee, while others saw her feet came up from underneath her, and one witness testified that he saw Wilson hit her head on the way down, according to the attorneys.

However, one undisputable fact is that Wilson, after falling, sought the services of an attorney, not a doctor, said Hawes.

Hawes told jurors Wilson went to the Sutton & Jacobs law firm after the incident. And in turn, the law firm referred her to a chiropractor, who will testify on the nature of Wilson's injuries.

The trial is being held in Judge Donald Floyd's 172nd Judicial Court.

Wilson's suit was filed in the Jefferson County District Court on Oct. 6, 2005, two years following the her slip and fall.

In its response to Wilson's suit, Chick-fil-A's answer argued any injures Wilson suffered were due to her own negligence and that her suit against the company was a fraud.

Wilson is asking jurors to award her damages for past and future mental anguish, medical expenses, and physical pain, plus court costs.

Hawes is an attorney for the Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Martin law firm.

Case No. E175-880

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