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Manning & Kass Attorneys Make Daily Journal Verdicts & Settlements for San Diego Premises Liability Defense Verdict

Daily Journal reports only the most newsworthy trial results for its daily "Verdict's & Settlements" section. On Wednesday, May 6, they reported that San Diego's managing partner Al De La Cruz, along with partner Michael A. Weismantel and associate Rebeca Valenzuela, achieved a defense verdict after a six day jury trial in the case of Linda Thompson v. Zoological Society of San Diego.

In September 2011 at the San Diego Zoo, on a path to the hummingbird aviary, plaintiff fell resulting in a fractured kneecap. The plaintiff underwent two total knee replacement surgeries. She suffered from severe pre-existing arthritis and rejected settlement offers at mediation and on the eve of trial. Plaintiff sought compensatory damages in excess of $1.6 million. 

At trial, Manning & Kass attorneys discovered that a paramedic who arrived on the scene had testimony beneficial to the defense involving inconsistencies in the plaintiff's testimony. With less than twenty-four hours advance notice, Ms. Valenzuela located this witness, who lived forty-five miles away, and persuaded her to appear. After trial, the jury deliberated for less than an hour before absolving the Zoological Society of all liability in regard to the incident.

Daily Journal also reports, "Defendant denied liability and claimed that plaintiff failed to articulate any dangerous condition on the zoo grounds and that the fall was far more likely caused by inattention on the part of plaintiff. Defendant contended that the subject path had been used by patrons for years without incident.

Defendant denied that an outdoor area when wet was unsafe and claimed that water does not equate to a slippery surface. Safety engineers had tested the subject area, and the area, even when wet, was safe having a coefficient of friction of 0.35 or greater."



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