Charles Stokes Prevails on Appeal in High Exposure Philadelphia Premises Liability Case
On April 21, 2016, Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the trial court's grant of a non-suit in Austin v. Woodward Properties, that followed a trial by Charles Stokes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The plaintiff claimed that she stepped on a partially-eaten slice of pizza on a greasy piece of wax paper that caused her to fall down the steps of an apartment building owned and managed by the defendants. The plaintiff allegedly suffered a traumatic brain injury and a knee injury that required total knee replacement surgery. She also claimed future medical and life care expenses in excess of $1.5 million. At the conclusion of the plaintiff’s proof, Mr. Stokes moved for a compulsory non-suit on the basis that the plaintiff failed to establish that the defendant had actual or constructive notice of the alleged debris. The trial judge granted the motion and dismissed the case, and plaintiff subsequently appealed the ruling to Superior Court. The appellate panel agreed with the trial judge that the plaintiff failed to present evidence of negligence and notice of the hazardous condition to justify submission of the case to the jury, and affirmed the nonsuit.