Woman Trips on Stairs - Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

Our client, a 50 year old woman, tripped on a small crack on a stairway step in a building owned by Methodist Hospital and grabbed onto the banister to avoid falling. As a result, she dislocated her shoulder. The injury developed into a condition known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), where the sympathetic nervous system produces chronic pain to the injured area.

We were asked to try the case by the law firm who had handled the case for years. Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP attorney, Bill Hepner, while preparing the case for trial, immediately ascertained that a critical witness who had information about the length of time the condition on the stairway existed would be unavailable for trial. However, his testimony had not been preserved for trial which was scheduled for a few weeks after we took over the case. Bill immediately subpoenaed the witness for a deposition, which defense counsel objected to and refused to attend. Despite defendant's objection, we held the deposition. After a jury was selected the trial judge indicated he would allow us to use the deposition at trial. At that point, the defendant, which had never previously attempted to settle the case, settled for $310,000.00.

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