Jury selection starts in civil trial over Applebee’s host stepping on customer’s foot

By David Yates | Apr 10, 2017

BEAUMONT – Jury selection began Monday in a lawsuit brought by Carolyn Rhymes, who claims an Applebee’s host, while taking a step backwards, incidentally stepped on her foot, causing her to loose her balance and land on her butt.

Seeking up to $1 million in damages, Rhymes filed suit against El Chico Restaurants of Arkansas on March 27, 2014 in Jefferson County District Court.

In her suit, Rhymes, who was 65 years old at the time, says the “accident occurred” on May 10, 2014, at Applebee’s on Dowlen Road in Beaumont.

As Rhymes walked behind the host assigned to seat her, the host took a step backwards and stepped on her foot, “causing her to lose her balance and fall forcefully to the ground.”

Rhymes landed on her butt, hitting her arm and leg on the way down. As a result of the fall, Rhymes had to undergo medical treatment, the suit alleges.

Since the restaurant chain employed the host, the defendant is liable for him “failing to watch where he was walking,” the suit alleges.

In a second amended answer, El Chico Restaurants asserted the occurrence was caused by Rhymes’ negligence and that she failed to mitigate her medical expenses by refusing to use her medical insurance.

Rhymes is suing for her past and future disfigurement, impairment, mental anguish and medical expenses.

Beaumont attorney Malachi Daws represents her.

Houston attorney Jeffrey Diamond represents El Chico.

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

Case No. A196-887

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