Icy Sidewalk Fall Leads to $1 Million Settlement in Burlington County Suit New Jersey Law Journal
Submitted by New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark
A woman who was rendered disabled after falling on an icy sidewalk at her apartment complex received a $1 million settlement in her Burlington County suit, Tate v. Westover Companies, on May 7.
Nicole Tate, who lived at the Willow Ridge Village Apartments in Marlton, fell on an icy sidewalk at the complex and broke her left ankle on Sunday, March 11, 2018. The incident was the second time in a three-day period that she fell on a sidewalk at the complex—on Friday, March 9, 2018, she fell at the same spot, she claimed. Right after her first fall, she called the apartment management office and left a voicemail message complaining about the icy sidewalk. An employee called her back the next day, acknowledging the complaint. But no measures were taken to treat the slippery walkways, the suit claimed.
Tate underwent four surgical procedures on her left leg and ankle but experiences constant pain and requires frequent pain medication, said her attorney, Jeffrey Hark of Hark & Hark in Cherry Hill. Her left leg is 3/4 inch shorter than her right, he said. She has difficulty ambulating without a walker or a knee scooter, and requires assistance with household chores and grocery shopping, Hark said. She is permanently disabled and unable to work, he said.
Tate sued Westover Cos. of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, owner of the apartment complex, and TLC Landscape Co. of Williamstown, which was under contract to perform winter maintenance.
Counsel for Westover argued that Tate had notice of the condition because of the earlier fall and that the landscaper defendant was supposed to return to the complex for follow-up snow removal efforts, according to Hark.
A settlement was reached on April 14, following mediation with Michael Donio, a former Atlantic County Superior Court judge who is now a solo in Hammonton. Checks were received on May 7. The settlement is for $1 million, with 80% paid by Westover and 20% by TLC Landscape, said Hark.
Westover’s attorney was Sarah Delahant of Methfessel & Werbel in Edison. She did not return a call about the case. The lawyer for TLC Landscape, Bruce Barrett of Margolis Edelstein in Mount Laurel, declined to comment on the case.
— Charles Toutant