J.C. Penney, Parkdale Mall object to entry of jury verdict in trip & fall

By David Yates | Sep 19, 2016

BEAUMONT – A pair of defendants are objecting to entry of a jury verdict in a trip and fall lawsuit, asserting the alleged dangerous condition was obvious.

BEAUMONT – A pair of defendants are objecting to entry of a jury verdict in a trip and fall lawsuit, asserting the alleged dangerous condition was obvious.

In early September, a Jefferson County jury delivered a $251,894.58 verdict against J.C. Penney and Parkdale Mall.

The plaintiff in the case, Janice Smith, filed a motion for entry of judgment on the verdict on Sept. 14, court records show.

Two days later, the defendants filed a response, objecting to entry of any judgment on the jury’s verdict on the grounds “the alleged dangerous condition was open and obvious as a matter of law.”

Smith claims she sustained injuries after tripping and falling on a defective storm drain on a sidewalk outside of the J.C. Penney department store, at Parkdale Mall in Beaumont, on Jan. 19, 2013.

A hearing on whether to enter judgment was held Sept. 19. No entry was made.

According to a courthouse official, the parties needed to work out some details and will submit a reworked motion for entry of judgment.

Smith filed suit against J.C. Penney and Parkdale Mall on April 15, 2014 in Jefferson County District Court.

At trial, jurors found both J.C. Penney and Parkdale Mall negligent, assigning each defendant 50 percent of the blame, according to the charge of the court, filed Sept. 6.

Smith’s suit alleges the dangerous storm drain was raised up with gaps large enough to rip the plaintiff’s shoe, causing the fall that caused Smith serious injures to her knee and mouth.

Jurors awarded Smith $108,000 for her past and future mental anguish, $80,000 for her past and future impairment and $63,894.58 for her past and future medical expenses.

Beaumont attorneys Nathan M. Brandimarte and Kimberly Daily of Orgain Bell and Tucker LLP are representing Smith.

J.C. Penny is represented by Michael McGown, attorney for the Beaumont law firm Benckenstein, Norvell, and Nathan.

Judge Kent Walston, 58th District Court, is presiding over the case.

Jefferson County District Court Case No. A195-611

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