Case details

Property owner denied prior knowledge of light being out





Result type

Not present

ankle, leg, right ankle, sprain, strain
In the evening of July 27, 2010, plaintiff Ana Escalante, an unemployed woman in her 50s, was visiting her son at the apartment building where he resided near downtown Los Angeles. She was with her son’s father, who was her ex-husband. As Escalante was descending an exterior stairway, she slipped and fell, allegedly her right ankle and leg. Escalante sued the believed owners of the apartment building, Gary Gillman, Debbie Gillman and Gary Gillman-Robert Morrow. Escalante alleged the defendants failed to properly maintain the stairway, creating a dangerous condition. It was ultimately learned that Mr. Gillman was the rightful owner of the building. Thus, Ms. Gillman and Mr. Gillman-Robert Morrow were discontinued and the matter proceeded to trial against Mr. Gillman only. Escalante alleged that there was a light above the stairway that had been out for a month. She claimed that because there was no light, she stepped onto what she thought was the sidewalk, but that it was really still the middle of the stairway, with four more steps to go. She claimed that as a result, she lost her balance and fell. Thus, Escalante alleged that Mr. Gillman was negligent for failing to repair the light. Defense counsel contended that Escalante had walked up and down the subject stairway for years visiting her son, so Escalante was familiar with the stairway. Counsel asserted that though Escalante claimed the light had been out for a month, she still had gone up and down the stairway numerous times. Defense also asserted that there were no witnesses to Escalante’s fall. Counsel further contended that the property manager would be present at the building, at night, at the beginning of each month in order to collect rent. Counsel asserted that as a result, the property manager was present at the building sometime during the first week of July 2010, about three weeks before the alleged fall, and that she claimed the light was working at that time. In addition, the property manager and the maintenance personnel both testified that there were no complaints from residents or guests that the light was out for a month., Escalante claimed she suffered sprains and strains of her right ankle and leg. She subsequently presented to a hospital two weeks after the alleged fall. Eight months later, Escalante went to a chiropractor and an orthopedist, and had an MRI. She then treated for a few months and was released. Escalante claimed she suffered residual, off-and-on pain. Defense counsel noted that Escalante was already on disability from a previous accident.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Pasadena, CA

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