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MSZL&M Secures Defense Verdict in Negligence Case Involving Claims of Post-Concussive Syndrome and Permanent Cognitive Losses

Wicomico County, Maryland (August 2018) - Attorney Sandra Carson, of Mintzer Sarowitz Zeris Ledva & Meyers LLP’s Towson, Maryland office, recently obtained a defense verdict in favor of a casual dining restaurant chain and its employee in a case in which plaintiff alleged that she suffered a concussion, post-concussive syndrome, permanent cognitive losses, and permanent neck and upper back injuries as a result of a fall occurring in July of 2014.

Plaintiff was holding her 11-month old granddaughter as she and her family were escorted to a table by the host. Plaintiff alleged that, without notice, the host pulled the dining chair out from behind her just as she went to sit down and that as a result, she fell and struck her head on the wall behind her. The next day, Plaintiff was diagnosed with a concussion. Over four months, she complained of a variety of symptoms that were diagnosed as “post-concussion syndrome” and she remained out of work receiving care from a neurologist and physical therapist. Plaintiff returned to her job in insurance customer service and sales in November of 2014. Although she admittedly did not seek additional medical evaluation or care for nine months and never accepted further medical treatment that was recommended, Plaintiff claimed she had suffered symptoms including neck and back pain, vertigo, depression and anxiety, short-term memory loss and cognitive losses since the fall. Plaintiff claimed only non-economic damages. Her husband claimed loss of consortium.

Defendants denied that the host removed the chair without notice. The host testified that he had specifically told the Plaintiff that he was going to take the chair away to make room for a high chair that Plaintiff had requested. He testified that immediately after he did so, the Plaintiff turned and looked at him and gave a verbal response that he believed indicated her acknowledgement of what he had said. At that point, the host removed the chair, but the Plaintiff started to sit down anyway. Defendants maintained that Plaintiff was contributorily negligent because she admittedly did not look behind her or feel the chair at the back of her legs before sitting down. Defendants also presented evidence that any injuries the Plaintiff had sustained as a result of the fall were fully resolved by the time she returned to work.

The jury found that the host was not negligent and returned a verdict in favor of the Defendants.

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