She said that it happened at the Target store at 5900 Lake Worth Road, in Greenacres, Florida.
Her Attorney demanded $950,000 from Target
Her attorney made a settlement demand to Bart Olson of Sedgwick Claims Management for Target. The demand was for $950,000.00.
Her settlement demand letter detailed the extent of her injuries, the physicians who treated her, and the medical care she received.
The demand letter documented treatment with twelve (12) different medical providers with total medicals expenses of $204,401.99.
She Claimed Disc Herniations in Her Neck and Back
Her settlement demand documents cervical disc herniations at C5/C6 and C6/C7 and a lumbar disc herniation at L4/L5 with disc bulge at L5/S1 stated on an MRI. In other words, she claimed two herniated discs in her neck and a herniated disc in her back.
She had a Spinal Fusion Surgery in Her Neck
Her settlement demand said that she underwent anterior spinal fusion surgery at the C5/6 level with anterior instrumentation, partial corpectomy and insertion of interbody cage at C5/6.
Benita Siciliano, sued Target on November 18, 2014. Target removed the case to Federal Court in West Palm Beach, Florida.
What compensation did she sue for?
In addition to total medicals expenses of $204,401.99, she sued for compensation for
- Past Lost Income
- Future lost income reduced to present value
- Future medical expenses
- Emotional and physical past pain and suffering
- Emotional and Future Pain and Suffering
- Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life
She claimed that she slipped and fell as a result of the negligence of Target Corporation (“Target”) and the acting manager of the Target store in which she fell.
Target tried to get the case dismissed
On November 25, 2014, Target tried to get the case dismissed. The court rejected Target’s request. I talk more about this below.
Florida Law for Slip and Falls
Under Florida law, “if a person slips and falls on a transitory substance in a business establishment, the injured person must prove that the business establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it.” Fla. Stat. § 768.0755(1).
(a) the dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that, in the exercise of ordinary care, the business establishment should have known of the condition; or
Facts of the Case
The guest and her son were shopping for school supplies in the seasonal “back-to-school” section of the Lake Worth Target store when she slipped on a placemat lying face-down on the floor and fell.
She couldn’t show that Target had actual knowledge of the placement on the floor prior to her fall. She also couldn’t show that the placemat on which she slipped remained on the floor, before her fall, for such a length of time that Target should have known it was there.
Items Were Regularly on the Floor in Seasonal Area of Target
However, there was enough evidence—particularly in the testimony of Target store employees—to raise a genuine dispute as to the regularity with which items such as the placemat on which Siciliano slipped are left on the floor of the seasonal area of the store, where Siciliano fell, during the back-to-school season.
Target wasn’t aware of placements being on floor before fall
The testimony of Target store employees established that, prior to Siciliano’s fall, they had never seen or heard of a placemat on the floor, and knew of no one else who had slipped and fallen on a placemat or other object left on the floor of the store’s seasonal section.
Seasonal Section was Often Messy
Yet, their testimony also established that during the back-to-school season, the store’s seasonal section is often messy. The employees’ testimony also established that customers tend to throw items on the floor and leave them there, and this was not the first time Target store employees had seen items on the floor in the back-to-school section.
This evidence raised a genuine dispute as to whether items were regularly left on the floor of the store’s seasonal back-to-school section, which is important to the extent that Siciliano may offer evidence of the regularity with which this condition occurred to prove that Target had constructive knowledge of the placemat on the floor in this particular case.
Items Regularly on Floor Gets to a Jury
The Court said that section 768.0755 does not require that placemats such as the one on which Siciliano slipped in this case are regularly left on the floor of the store’s seasonal back-to-school section in order to prove that Target had constructive knowledge of that condition in this case.
So long as items were regularly on the floor before the fall, that was good enough to show constructive notice.
This is a good case for people who are injured at stores. Similar facts may allow your case to get to trial.
However, Siciliano’s luck ran out…
Jury Says Target Didn’t Cause Shopper’s Injuries
The jury found that Target’s negligence wasn’t the cause of the shopper’s injuries. She lost the case.
What law firm did Target use?
Target used the West Palm Beach law firm of Derrevere, Hawkes, et. al. Target pays this firm by the hour to defend it in slip and fall cases.
The case is Benita Siciliano vs. Target Corporation. Date of Verdict: May 29, 2015.
Case No.: 9:14-CV-80459. The judges were Rosenberg/Brannon. This isn’t my case though I have settled many Florida slip and fall cases.
Call Me Now!
Call me now at (888) 594-3577 to find out for FREE if we can represent you. We answer calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.