Sam's Club wins appeal in slip-and-fall case; Woman continued shopping after fall

By Takesha Thomas | Nov 28, 2018

HARRISBURG - A woman who claims she was injured in a Sam's Club store after a fall has lost her appeal. 

Donyale and Charles Showers filed the appeal in Superior Court of Pennsylvania after a Chester County trial court ruled in February to reduce her award against Sam's East Inc. by half. The Showers had sued Sam's for medical expenses. 

On Nov. 6, the Superior Court affirmed the trial court's ruling awarding the Showers $7,481.40. The court ruled that, "We agree with the trial court’s assessment. The trial court instructed the jury regarding negligence, comparative negligence, and the various damages Appellants sought (including medical expenses, pain and suffering, embarrassment and humiliation, loss of the ability to enjoy the pleasures of life, and disfigurement). We presume that juries follow the trial court's instructions."

Showers claims that in August 2014 during a trip to the Exton Sam's Club location, she slipped and fell inside the store. Showers admits that she had been wearing "athletic thongs" when the incident occurred and that it was raining that day. 

According to the filing, Showers claims, "store employees had placed weather mats on the floor at the store’s entrance, video footage presented at trial showed that an employee had just previously entered the store with a line of carts, which tracked water in from outside, leaving portions of the concrete floor wet." 

The lawsuit contends that Showers, "complained of pain in her entire right side, including wrist, hip, elbow, knee, leg, ankle and shoulder." Although Showers slipped and fell on the wet floor, she continued to shop for an additional 30 to 60 minutes at the store. It wasn't until the following day that Showers went to an urgent care facility for treatment. 

In trial, the jury awarded Showers $7,481.40 that she proved to have paid in medical expenses. However, that figure was reduced by 50 percent "when applying the comparative negligence statute" for a new tally of $3,740.20. Showers was also awarded an additional $3,740.20 for other damages.

Showers claims her injuries were caused by the fall. However, an MRI performed in August 2014 showed no evidence of acute injury, the decision says. 

Showers received physical therapy for the alleged injury after continued complaints to medical professionals about knee pain. She eventually underwent arthroscopic surgery on her right knee in April 2015. Showers doctor revealed in his post-operative report an inner rim tear in the lateral meniscus. 

Her medical professionals also "opined that the tear to the lateral meniscus was caused by the two falls experienced in August 2014," adding that she had indeed suffered a permanent injury, the decision says.

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