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Manning & Kass Scores Defense Verdict for Large Regional Mall

Congratulations to Manning & Kass partners Sevan Gobel (of Los Angeles) and Lawrence D. Esten (of Orange County) for obtaining a complete defense victory on behalf of the firm's client, a large regional shopping mall in Southern California.

The mall's roof had experienced occasional rain water leaks in some areas, which were routinely repaired as they occurred. In 2011, the plaintiff, a 52 year old female school bus driver, slipped and fell on water as a result of a leak in the roof. Plaintiff contended that the area in question had experienced leaks for years, which were allegedly neglected by management. Plaintiff also contended that mall owners should have replaced the entire roof, rather than make periodic repairs. In a contentious and lengthy litigation battle, the plaintiff demanded $2.5 million to compensate her for three spine surgeries which she claimed were related and necessitated by her fall at the mall.

Mr. Gobel and Mr. Esten persuaded the jury that the firm’s client were not negligent in the management and operation of the mall. They also convinced the jury that plaintiff did not injure her neck and back when she fell at the mall and that plaintiff's statements regarding her injuries could not be trusted based on medical evidence and testimony from her own treating/examining physicians.

The jury found for the defendants, determining that the mall was not negligent. Though the jury did not need to reach the second question as to causation of injuries, the jurors reported that they were unanimous that plaintiff had not established that her spine injuries and corresponding surgeries were a result of this incident.

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