Mary Kay Scott Obtains Directed Verdict

Mary Kay Scott tried a case in Cook County, October 6-9, 2003.

Westside Association for Community Action (WACA) and the owners of the building, Gloria and Ernest Jenkins, obtained a directed verdict at the close of plaintiff’s case in a recent Cook County jury trial. The plaintiff, Berdina Stubbs, was an employee of Aunt Martha’s a youth services organization, when she allegedly fell down stairs at the building at 3600 W. Ogden St. in Chicago, on September 8, 1998. The fall was unwitnessed, and no complaints were made to the defendants.

Plaintiff claimed the condition of the carpet on the stairs was unreasonably dangerous, and that condition led to her fall. No witness called by the plaintiff had ever given notice to the defendants as to the condition. Undated photos of the stairs taken several years after the occurrence showed duct tape on the stairs. The defendants and a witness denied that was the condition on the date of the accident.

Plaintiff claimed her first medical treatment 2.5 months after the occurrence, for Achilles tendonitis, and subsequently saw numerous physicians, none of whom causally connected the plaintiff’s myriad complaints, including degenerative joint disease of the spine diagnosed over 2 years later, to this accident. Plaintiff was barred from submitting lost wage claims and items of medical damages due to failure to disclose these bills during discovery.

The court directed the verdict after 3 days of trial, based upon lack of notice of the condition. Plaintiff’s post-trial motion was denied on December 1, 2003.