WEST PALM BEACH — The 4th District Court of Appeal has remanded a case involving a slip-and-fall claim at a Walmart, and the order could affect the plaintiff's award for medical expenses.
In the appeal, attorneys Thomas A. Valdez and Karen M. Shimonsky of Quintaros, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, who represented Walmart, argued that a Broward County jury awarded damages to truck driver Derrick Thornton without considering all evidence presented.
Attorneys for Thorton -- Donna Greenspan Solomon of Solomon Appeals, Mediation & Arbitration and Roger C. Rogers Jr. of Lawrence, Bohannon P.A. -- filed a claim of negligence against the retailer after Thorton claimed he slipped in the indoor garden center of a Broward County store in 2012. He claimed he suffered an injured knee and herniated discs after the fall.
A jury took just 50 minutes to deliberate in the three-day trial where, on March 7, Thornton was awarded $970,000. The appeal claims that testimony from Thornton’s doctor should have been further considered. In testimony, the doctor estimated that “medical costs for ‘a potential future knee replacement surgery’ would not exceed $75,000,” according to the court’s ruling.
The appeals court ruled that under Florida Statutes, Section 768.74 remittitur could occur. The statute reads in part that the courts shall review the amount awarded and determine if that amount is inadequate or excessive. Based on those findings, the court could rule remittitur or additur. In Walmart vs. Thornton case, the courts ruled that $150,000 of the $970,000 in damages awarded by the jury could be reconsidered.
This is not the first slip and fall lawsuit for Walmart filed in Florida.
In 2015, Carmen Rodriguez Canizares filed a complaint in an Orange County court against Walmart. In that lawsuit, she asked the court to award her $15,000 after she reportedly slipped and fell in a Walmart store in 2013.