November 23, 2018

Contact:Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
Managing Partner
305.670.1101 Ext. 1023


Premises Liability Defense

David M. Tarlow

David M. Tarlow

FORT LAUDERDALE David M. Tarlow, managing partner of the Fort Lauderdale office of Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., represented Walgreens after a plaintiff’s fraudulent claim alleged he slipped and fell in water, landing on his back. The Plaintiff, then 56 years old, claimed he slipped after using the store’s self-service coffee machine before his return to the pharmacy counter.
Prior to the slip and fall, the store’s pharmacist testified that an unknown customer had advised him there was a spill in the aisle where the Plaintiff would eventually fall.  The pharmacist testified he paged for a clean-up and when he didn’t get a response, he called for the store manager.  The pharmacist testified that as much as 10 minutes could have gone by before he called the store manager.  Other employees all testified they heard a loud noise consistent with someone falling hard on the floor and subsequently observed Plaintiff on the floor.  The store manager testified that she responded immediately when paged, but had trouble remembering any of the policies and procedures concerning floor maintenance and inspection.
Photographs taken by the store and the Plaintiff’s brother depicted a large spill of coffee on the floor with the cup and a large amount of liquid under the lip of the shelf displaying merchandise.  The shelf and merchandise being displayed did not have coffee on it.  The defense to liability was that the Plaintiff and his brother staged the accident.
The Plaintiff first sought medical treatment with a chiropractor five (5) days after the incident.  The lumbar MRI revealed bulges at L3-4, and L4-5, with a herniation at L5-S1.  Plaintiff underwent two surgical procedures to the lumbar spine: a percutaneous discectomy at L4-5 and a posterior lumbar laminectomy with decompression at the levels of L3, L4, L5, and S1.  Medicals were $312,000 and a life care plan was presented in the amount of $994,000.  The Plaintiff applied for and received SSA disability based on the “fall” at the Walgreens.
The defense of legal causation focused on one medical record that the Plaintiff had sought medical treatment, including physical therapy, for a car accident that occurred six months earlier.  No body parts were referenced in that record.  Additionally, gaps in treatment and the failure to follow medical advice were exploited.  Medical bills were also labeled as “price gouging,” since all providers treated under Letters of Protection.
Cross-examination of the Plaintiff, particularly when asked to explain how within the realm of possibility his coffee cup and resulting spill could have physically occurred as depicted in the photographs, the Plaintiff contradicted what his attorney had said in the opening statement.  After being caught in several lies and testimony just not believable, a jury returned a defense verdict within 45 minutes.
The Plaintiff had filed a proposal for settlement for $1.5 million and $300,000 was offered during pre-trial.

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About QPWB
David M.  Tarlow is the managing partner of the Fort Lauderdale office. He is an expert in civil litigation and is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Education and Specialization and by the National Board of Trial Advocacy in the area of Civil Trials.  His practice includes all aspects of insurance and general liability defense, product liability, wrongful death, personal injury defense, premise liability, automobile liability, negligent security, legal malpractice, and insurance coverage disputes and bad faith litigation. Tarlow received his law degree from the University of Miami School of Law and is admitted to practice law in Florida and in the United States District Courts for the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida, Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.
Michael J. Wood is a partner and focuses his practice in the areas of automobile liability, premises liability, and first-party property and third-party insurance coverage claims. He received his law degree in 2007 from Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center. He is admitted to practice in Florida.  Wood is a veteran sergeant of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., is the largest minority and women owned law firm in the nation with more than 370 lawyers serving clients from 21 offices in the United States and abroad across a spectrum of industries in over 40 areas of practice. Our lawyers provide representation in litigation, business, real estate and governmental law.

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