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Charles Stokes Wins Defense Verdict In Philadelphia

On June 7, 2016, Charles Stokes won a unanimous defense verdict on liability in Kitt v. KPC Properties, LLC (Ct. Com. Pl., Philadelphia County). The plaintiff alleged that he slipped or stumbled on a wet step near the bottom of a winder-type staircase in a restaurant. The plaintiff sustained a full-thickness rupture of the left quadriceps tendon requiring surgery and extensive rehabilitation. The plaintiff alleged that one of the steps had become wet and slippery during the course of the evening, and that the presence of a winder staircase in a commercial establishment is a violation of the applicable building code. Mr. Stokes argued that the steps were equipped with anti-slip strips for increased traction; that the plaintiff did not complain of wetness or slipperiness to restaurant staff or health care providers until well after the night of the accident; and that the winder staircase, which was erected in 1915, was “grandfathered” into the applicable code according to the defendant’s expert. After a three-day trial, the jury deliberated for approximately one hour before returning a defense verdict finding that the plaintiff did not prove that the defendants were negligent.

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