Case details

Guest failed to take care when stepping onto wet patio: hotel





Result type

Not present

arm, bruise, elbow
On Feb. 7, 2010, plaintiff Janet Torres-Medina, 52, a senior workers’ compensation analyst, slipped and fell on a patio deck during a Super Bowl party with her friends and family at the San Luis Bay Inn at Avila Beach. Torres-Medina claimed she injured her lower back and left elbow. Torres-Medina sued the owner of the hotel, San Luis Bay Inn Timeshare Association Inc. Torres-Medina alleged that San Luis Bay Inn failed to repair a dangerous condition on the patio. Torres-Medina claimed she slipped and fell while exiting the T.V. room and stepping onto the patio. She claimed it was drizzling out, making the patio tiles wet and slippery. Thus, Torres-Medina’s counsel argued that the patio’s ceramic tiles were inappropriate for outdoor use because the surface becomes dangerously slippery when wet. Counsel also argued that the defendant had a duty to warn patrons of the dangerous condition, but failed to do so. Defense counsel contended that Torres-Medina was carrying two drinks onto a wet deck, where it was obviously raining. The defense’s expert safety engineer testified that the patio tiles were rated for outdoor use and were not overly slippery. Thus, defense counsel argued that Torres-Medina failed to take care of her own safety and caused her own fall., A friend took Torres-Medina to an emergency room, where she complained of pain in her left elbow and lower back. Torres-Medina was prescribed pain medication and discharged with instructions to follow up with an orthopedist. Two weeks later, she underwent an MRI and was diagnosed with a compression fracture of her lumbar spine at the L4-5 level. She was also diagnosed with a bruised left elbow. Torres-Medina then underwent two epidural injections. Torres-Medina claimed that she was unable to work for six months following the accident and that in 2012, she became disabled after developing shingles due to the stress of being injured. The plaintiff’s expert orthopedist testified that based on MRI imaging, Torres-Medina suffered a compression fracture due to the fall. He opined that Torres-Medina will eventually require lumbar surgery, as well as physical therapy as needed. Thus, Torres-Medina sought $107,000 in lost earnings and $760,000 in future medical expenses. No amount was presented for past medical expenses and she sought recovery of an undisclosed amount of past and future pain and suffering. The defense’s expert orthopedist testified that Torres-Medina did not sustain a compression fracture, but, rather, the radiographic studies reflected a Schmorl’s node, an asymptomatic congenital condition. He also testified that even if Torres-Medina had sustained a compression fracture, it would have healed and resolved within six to eight weeks and would not have required six months off from work. Defense counsel argued that that Torres-Medina had filed multiple claims alleging workplace and that she was treating with an orthopedic surgeon at the time of the patio incident. Counsel also argued that Torres-Medina did not sustain any additional, lasting in the fall.
Superior Court of San Luis Obispo County, San Luis Obispo, CA

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