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Jury awards nurse who fell on wet hospital floor.

Byline: David Baugher

A Butler County jury awarded $90,000 to a nurse who was injured when she slipped and fell on the job.

"Before her slip-and-fall, they'd had complaints lodged with them, but they continued to overmop and saturate the floor," said Stephen E. Walsh of Walsh & Walsh, who represented plaintiff Honda Huster.

Huster fell on the damp surface while in the soiled-linens room where she was dropping off equipment between attending the deliveries of two babies. Injuries to her left knee, on which she'd already had a previous surgery, forced replacement of the joint. The plaintiff sued the cleaning company, Hospital Housekeeping Systems.

"This was the straw that broke the camel's back," Walsh said. "She'd had prior problems and needed surgery the year before, but she was still able to function until this trauma to her knee occurred."

Walsh said that a worker's-compensation lien of $85,000 was in place but was not mentioned at trial.

The plaintiff claimed that the floor was mopped too heavily and contended that the use of a string mop, which may leave wetter surfaces, violated policy.

Moreover, Walsh alleged a failure to follow directives that mandated warning signage on both sides of the door to the room. Instead, there was only one sign at the entrance, he said.

"We argued that there was just a total lack of training and supervision," he said.

Walsh said the defendants disputed both the cause and extent of the injury and argued that there was not sufficient evidence to show the floor was too damp.

Jurors found Huster 10 percent responsible. Walsh said he believed a finding of some comparative fault was inevitable.

"We conceded at trial that she was probably 5 percent at fault," he said.

Walsh listed Corry Keilin of Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer as representing the defendant. Keilin did not respond to a request for comment.

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$100,000 verdict

Personal Injury

Allocation of fault: 10 percent to plaintiff, 90 percent to defendant. Net judgment of $90,000

Venue: Butler County Circuit Court

Case Number/Date: 16BT-CV00029/Oct. 18, 2018

Judge: Michael Pritchett

Plaintiff's Experts: Kurt Merkel, Fenton (orthopedics)

Last Pretrial Demand: $350,000

Last Pretrial Offer: $2,000

Insurer: Catlin Specialty Insurance Company

Caption: Honda Huster v. Hospital Housekeeping Systems

Plaintiff's Attorneys: Stephen E. Walsh, Walsh & Walsh, Poplar Bluff

Defendant's Attorneys: Corry Keilin, Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, Chicago


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Publication:Missouri Lawyers Media
Date:Apr 2, 2019
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