Court Of Appeals Modifies Judgment And Awards Client $5.9 Million In Slip And Fall Case

On May 17, 2013, attorneys Jeff Rowe and Brennan Delaney obtained a $5.9 million verdict, resulting in a $590,000 judgment for their client.  The lawsuit alleged that the defendant negligently caused a tile floor to become wet and slippery, resulting in a six year old boy slipping and falling.  The boy suffered a broken tibia and, years later, a below-knee amputation of his left leg.  Over the objection of the plaintiff, the defendant submitted a failure to keep a careful lookout comparative fault instruction. 

Plaintiff, through Randy Rhodes, Jeff Rowe, and Brennan Delaney, appealed the trial court’s ruling that apportioned fault to plaintiff and resulted in a 90% reduction of plaintiff’s recovery.  On January 13, 2015, the Missouri Western District Court of Appeals issued an opinion finding that the defendant presented no evidence of plaintiff’s alleged comparative fault, such that it was reversible error to submit that issue to the jury.  The Court of Appeals held that it was within its power to modify the judgment by eliminating the reduction in damages based on the erroneous assessment of fault.  Therefore, the Court of Appeals entered judgment in plaintiff’s favor to reflect that the defendant was 100% at fault and that plaintiff’s damages award was $5,906,525.00, the full amount assessed by the jury.