Examples of Premises Liability Cases Handled by the Rodgers Law Firm That Have Resulted in Favorable Recoveries for Ben’s Clients

Infant Drowned In Babysitter’s Swimming Pool – Pool Owner Ignored Safety Recommendations Made By Pool Installer

Fort Worth, Texas

While the parents were on a trip, their 15-month-old infant son drowned in their baby sitter’s swimming pool. The sitter had kept the child on a regular basis before the drowning.Documents obtained after suit was filed showed the pool owner did not follow the written safety recommendations provided by the swimming pool installer and signed for by the pool owner acknowledging the pool owner had received the written safety recommendations.

The pool owner did not child-proof the pool by buying relatively inexpensive safety devices such as a child-proof door lock on the kitchen door that opened into the swimming pool area or a pool alarm that would be triggered when any object weighing more than 10 pounds fell into the pool.

On-The-Job Slip and Fall – Mall Department Store Manager

Irving, Texas

The client, a manager for a nationally known department store chain located in a mall in Irving, Texas, slipped on a cloudy liquid substance while opening the store doors for business the morning after the weekly night-time floor cleaning by a janitorial service company
Chemical analysis of the liquid residue on her clothing by an expert chemist given the clothing shortly after the accident proved that the liquid residue on the clothing matched the chemical properties of the floor cleaning solution regularly used by store janitorial service company. We obtained the OSHA-required Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for the floor cleaning solution that was obtained from the janitorial service company after suit was filed. The MSDS chemical composition listing matched the chemical properties of the cleaning solution sample given to our expert by the defendant.

This expert testing also negated the defense by the janitorial service company that the liquid on the floor was water or another drinkable liquid, such as a milk shake, that was spilled by an unknown store employee or customer after the cleaning crew left the premises. Lab tests showed that the PH value of the liquid residue on the clothing was so high it would have harmed anyone who attempted to drink it, therefore it could not have been a drinkable liquid dropped by another employee or a customer. The PH value was a number that matched the PH of the defendant’s floor cleaning solution.

The client’s injuries required back surgery and a prolonged absence from work.

Slip and Fall On Defective Landscape Water Drainage System

Fort Worth, Texas

The client, an apartment resident, slipped on a large wet area on the concrete entrance to her apartment after a heavy rain. Our architectural expert witness determined that, after each rain, the poorly-designed landscape drainage system drained water onto her apartment entrance area rather than into the apartment parking lot and thus created a dangerous condition that made the entrance surface slippery to walk on each time it rained.

Investigation showed the property owner was aware of the dangerous condition for months and did not make repairs despite repeated complaints by apartment residents.

Her injuries required neck surgery and a lengthy absence from work.
Apartment Resident Slipped and Fell On Ice Created by Automatic Sprinkler System During Freezing Weather
Fort Worth, Texas

Our client’s apartment complex lawn was watered by an automatic sprinkler system that activated after midnight. The sprinkler system was not properly designed or maintained and when activated, sprayed water onto large areas of the parking lot and sidewalks as well as the lawn. One March day the weather forecasts on local television stations predicted freezing weather conditions the coming evening. The nighttime temperature was expected to drop into the 20s, well below freezing, for several days.

Our client left his apartment early the next morning after the cold weather had arrived to go to work. To his surprise, the apartment maintenance employees had not turned off the sprinkler system despite the cold weather warning. The sidewalk and parking lot was covered by a thick sheet of glassy- smooth ice.

Despite his best efforts to walk carefully to his car, he lost his footing on the ice and fell, severely injuring his right ankle and leg. His injuries required that he undergo surgery, an open reduction internal fixation of his right ankle. He was off work 30 weeks undergoing the surgery and therapy.

House Renter Burned In Natural Gas Leak and Fire – Utility Failed to Respond to Report of Gas Leak

Arlington, Texas

Our client rented a home in Arlington, Texas. His home was served by two utilities, a water company and a natural gas company. After he moved in, he became concerned by several months of high water bills. Both utilities owned easements in and near the street where the main water and gas lines had been laid underground – making the easement a “premises” controlled by the utilities.

He complained to the city water utility about the high bills, and they sent a crew to his home to test the water line for leaks. The water line tested ran from the street main water line to his water meter, located near the curb of the street in front of his house. The water meter was 90 feet away from his natural gas meter, which was located near his front door.

He was told that the tests showed the water line to his meter was not leaking and that any water leak between the meter and his house was the responsibility of the landlord, not the water utility. He was also told that he might have a slow water leak somewhere underneath the house that was also the responsibility of his landlord.

He decided he would read his water meter each morning before he left for work and each night when he got home from work to see what the daily water usage was when he was not at home. That night he tried to read his water meter, but the local street light was not bright enough. Not having a flashlight, he decided he would use his cigarette lighter to illuminate his water meter.

To his surprise and horror, as soon as he lit his cigarette lighter after holding it near the meter and bending over to read the meter, he was subjected to a ball of flame that engulfed his upper body, severely burning his face, head, and hands.

After suit was filed, the water utility workers that had tested the water line for leaks testified that they had informed the proper natural gas utility employees that there were indications of leaking natural gas detected while inspecting the water line for water leaks. The natural gas line was laid under the street near the water line. Despite this notice, the natural gas utility employees made no effort to locate the gas leak.

The water workers also testified that it was normal for leaking natural gas to follow the path of least resistance in the underground soil, and in this case the path of least resistance was to travel along the path of the main water line to the client’s water meter near the street because the soil was not compacted as much along the water line as it was in the rest of the street area.

Fuel Truck Driver Injured by Fuel Storage Tank High Pressure Explosion – Violation of OSHA Regulations

Ennis, Texas

Our client was employed as a fuel tank truck driver for a fuel company. He was scheduled to make a delivery of fuel to an asphalt plant that had a 5,000 gallon above-ground storage tank approximately 25 feet long that was used to supply fuel to the asphalt burner and to refuel plant trucks.

The storage tank was subject to OSHA regulations that required that the storage tank be equipped with a relief valve which directed all vapors to an incinerator, that the tank owner ensure that the storage tank was adequately vented to prevent development of pressure, as a result of the fuel filling process, from exceeding the design pressure of the tank, and that the tank owner take steps to prevent or minimize the consequences of catastrophic releases of explosive chemicals.

American Petroleum Institute (“API”) safety standards required pressure and vacuum-relieving devices be placed on the storage tank, and that the storage tank must be regularly inspected by an “authorized inspector,” one that holds an API certification as an inspector.

The owner of the asphalt plant ignored all of these regulations and safety standards for years. The client climbed on top of the storage tank and began the process of pumping 5,000 gallons of fuel into the storage tank through a fill pipe on top of the storage tank. Without his knowledge, pressure began building inside the storage tank while the fuel was being pumped inside it.

As he was nearing completion of the fuel delivery, suddenly and without warning the excess pressure that had built-up in the tank burst out of the fill pipe. The escaping high pressure air blast threw him up into the air and off the top of the storage tank, causing him to fall 10 to 12 feet to the ground at a place 12-15 feet away from the storage tank. The explosion severely injured his neck and back, but luckily he did not require surgery.

Grocery Store Shopper Injured in Slip and Near Fall – Improper Clean Up of Spilled Liquid

Fort Worth, Texas

Our client, an aircraft mechanic, was grocery shopping with his wife. While he was walking down an aisle containing bottled water on display, he noticed a woman standing behind a food sample table. He suddenly began slipping on a clear liquid on the floor, a condition that could not be readily seen on the light-colored tile floor.

His feet slipping caused him to lose his balance and begin to fall. He flailed his arms and jerked his torso and neck in quick, rapid movements to regain his balance and avoid falling. These movements successfully prevented him from falling, but in the process the movements aggravated a previous neck injury. He ultimately had to have neck surgery.

As he was in the process of slipping, a woman standing nearby that was working for a food supplier handing out food samples shouted: “Be careful. The floor is wet.” Her warning was obviously too late. While talking with her afterward, she told him that a store employee had just left the aisle after from mopping up bottled water spilled on the floor by a customer.

Our client had enough presence of mind to get her name, address and telephone number because she was the only independent witness who could testify that the defendant grocery store knew the slippery clear liquid was on the floor and had done a poor job of cleaning it up.

Sudden Drop by Elevator Injures Passenger – Elevator Maintenance Company Fails to Repair Oil Leak

Fort Worth, Texas

Our client, who worked on the 4th floor of a local hospital, entered the hospital elevator on a regular workday and pushed the button for her floor. As the elevator neared the 4th floor, she heard a loud grinding noise and then the elevator stopped abruptly, throwing her forward toward the elevator door and injuring her right shoulder.

After a few seconds the elevator suddenly started going down at a relatively high rate of descent, then, after dropping four floors, stopped abruptly at the basement level, throwing her backwards against the door, injuring her right knee. The doors would not open and hospital maintenance men had to open the doors from the outside and help her out.

The elevator was maintained by an elevator maintenance company based in Dallas. Our elevator expert testified at his deposition that the client’s description of the accident was typical for a situation called “low oil return,” meaning the elevator oil reservoir had leaked oil to the point that there was not enough oil left in the reservoir to allow the elevator to operate properly.

At his deposition, the maintenance company’s employee responsible for performing service on the elevator admitted that he had known the elevator was leaking oil for two or three years and did not repair the leak.

Her shoulder injury required surgery.