Case details

Sap not sticky enough to cause plaintiff’s fall, defense argued





Result type

Not present

arm, disfigurement, fracture, humerus, scar
On July 2, 2011, at approximately 5:30 p.m., plaintiff Maria Garcia-Aguirre, 49, a babysitter, was walking in the common area of her apartment complex in Canoga Park when she stumbled and fell. She subsequently fractured her left arm, and claimed to her neck, back, and both knees. Garcia-Aguirre sued the owner of the apartment complex, Allied Investors Management, LLC. Garcia-Aguirre alleged that the defendant’s negligent maintenance created a dangerous condition. Specifically, she claimed that her foot got stuck on some sap that had dripped on the ground from a bird of paradise plant. She also claimed that Allied Investors had notice of the condition, but failed to timely clean it up. Garcia-Aguirre further claimed that the dripping sap should have been cleaned on a regular basis and that Allied Investors’ failure to do so caused her personal . Allied Investors claimed the sap was not a hazard or dangerous condition, as its expert arborist testified that the sap was not sticky enough to cause the accident as described by Garcia-Aguirre. Thus, defense counsel contended that Garcia-Aguirre was liable for the fall, as she was carrying a large package at the time and simply lost her balance and stumbled., On the day after the incident, Garcia-Aguirre was taken by her boyfriend to an emergency room. She was subsequently diagnosed with a fractured humerus in her left, non-dominant arm, for which she underwent open reduction with the internal fixation of a plate with screws on July 12, 2011. Garcia-Aguirre also claimed soft-tissue strains and sprains of her neck, back and both knees, and subsequently treated with five months of physical therapy. Garcia-Aguirre claimed that while her neck, back and knee have mostly resolved, she still experiences pain and discomfort in her surgically repaired left arm, which now has an 8-inch scar. She also claimed that she may eventually require hardware removal surgery and that her recovery caused her to miss two weeks of work. Garcia-Aguirre claimed roughly $20,000 in total past medical costs ($7,600 post-Howell). Thus, she sought recover of $100,000 in total damages, including the amount of her past medical costs, $2,000 in past lost earnings, $20,000 in future medical costs, and an unspecified amount of damages for her pain and suffering. Defense counsel argued that Garcia-Aguirre made a good recovery from her surgery and did not need any future hardware removal surgery.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Van Nuys, CA

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