Jefferson County: Dewhirst & Dolven attorneys George Parker and Christopher Unger obtained a favorable jury verdict on behalf of the defendant in a slip and fall case alleging permanent injuries. The case arose when Plaintiff Larry Holmes went to The Mirage Sports Bar to play in a poker tournament. Due to it snowing outside, snow got tracked onto the tile floor each time customers entered the bar. Employees of the bar would periodically dry-mop the tile near the entryway, but the floor continued to get wet during the evening. The bar had a large mat inside the front door but did not have any signs or warnings to alert patrons about a wet floor.

Holmes went outside to smoke during one the tournament breaks. Upon reentering, he slipped and fell on the wet tile, severely tearing the tendons in his shoulder. The incident report prepared by the bar manager that night admitted that they knew about the tile getting wet from persons tracking in snow, and that Holmes had fallen on that wet tile.

Over the next several months, Holmes underwent two separate surgeries to repair his rotator cuff tear. His related medical bills were $91,066.67. He also claimed damages for pain and suffering, as well as permanent impairment to his shoulder for the remainder of his life.

At trial, Dewhirst & Dolven attorneys argued that the bar employees tried to keep the tile floor dry during the evening. In addition, Holmes was contributorily negligent by failing to wipe his feet on the available mat. Defendant thus argued that any damages award should be reduced by the percentage of Plaintiff Holmes’ own negligence.

Prior to trial, Holmes demanded $650,000 to settle the lawsuit. Due to this unreasonable demand, the bar’s insurer elected to let a jury decide the damages amount for Holmes’ claims. After a two-day jury trial, the jury found that Holmes’ medical bills were inflated. It thus reduced his bills from $91,066.67 to $77,509.52. The jury also awarded Holmes $2,500.00 for his pain and suffering, and $0 for permanent impairment or disfigurement. While the jury found that the bar was liable, it also found that Holmes was 15% negligent.

The final jury award was thus $68,008.09 total, which was about 10% of Holmes’ settlement demand.

Holmes v. The Mirage Sports Bar and Grill, Case No. 2017-CV-30953 (Jury verdict rendered May 16, 2018).