Seeking up to $1 million in damages, Rhymes filed suit against El Chico Restaurants of Arkansas (Applebee’s) on March 27, 2014 in Jefferson County District Court.
The trial began April 10 and lasted four days with jurors finding both parties equally at fault, assigning 50 percent responsibility to Rhymes and El Chico Restaurants.
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.
Jurors awarded Rhymes $108,000 in past medical expenses, $30,000 for her past mental anguish and $54,000 for her past loss of earning capacity, according to the charge of the court.
No damages were awarded for Rhymes’ future mental anguish or past impairment.
Beaumont attorney Malachi Daws represents her.
Houston attorney Jeffrey Diamond represents El Chico.
Judge Kent Walston, 58th District Court, is presiding over the litigation.
Case No. A196-887