Case details

Tenant blamed knee injury on poor building maintenance





Result type

Not present

chondromalacia, chondromalacipatella, knee
In May 2015, plaintiff Bridgette Wright, 41, who was permanently disabled due to being born with Chiari malformation, was at her apartment in an apartment building in Van Nuys. On the date in question, her foot fell through flooring in her bedroom and her knee struck a wooden support beam below. Wright claimed a knee injury. Wright sued the owners and managers of the building, Pete Veneracion and Lucila Joson. She also sued DTM Construction, Steven J. Melillo and Daniel T. Melillo, who had performed construction on the building. Wright alleged that Veneracion and Joson were negligent in the repair/maintenance of the premises, creating a dangerous condition. DTM Construction and the Melillos were dismissed from the case. Wright’s counsel contended that Veneracion and Joson failed to maintain the premises in a safe manner. Veneracion and Joson admitted liability for the accident. Although “substantial factor” was still included on the verdict sheet, defense counsel asked the jury to check “yes.” The jury was asked to only decide the amount of damages to award to Wright., The day after the incident, Wright presented to a hospital. Though she did not strike her head, she complained about headaches at the time due to her genetic condition. She also complained of bruising on her knee. At the hospital, she was given medication and was discharged with instructions to follow up with physicians. Wright claimed she suffered chondral defects to her knee that were caused by the subject accident. Prior to the subject accident, Wright had a 10-year history of preexisting knee pain. Wright’s knee pain persisted and she had imaging performed. She did not have any physical therapy. Instead, four years after the subject accident, Wright underwent a knee replacement. Wright’s expert in orthopedic surgery opined that Wright’s injury was caused by the subject fall and that her surgery was reasonable, necessary and related to the subject accident. Wright claimed she would require a future knee replacement. She sought damages for future medical costs and for past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel contended that Wright’s knee injury was due to preexisting degenerative arthritis and she could have only suffered a soft tissue injury from her fall. The defense’s expert in orthopedic surgery opined that Wright only suffered a bruise from her fall and had preexisting arthritis, which was the cause of her knee pain.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Santa Monica, CA

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