$325,000 Recovery for Plaintiff Injured in Fall at Group Home

$325,000 RECOVERY – Absence of lighting on outside stairs leading from building containing adult home for disabled residents – Fall – Tri-malleolar fracture – Surgery – Favoring of leg allegedly causes tear of medial meniscus on other leg, necessitating arthroscopic surgery – Plaintiff aide misses approximately 1 1/2 years from work.

Monmouth County, NJ – The plaintiff in her 30’s, who was an aide at a group home for disabled adult residents, contended that as she was leaving work., the lighting near the exterior steps, which was activated by a sensor, did not function and that as she walked down, she lost her footing and fell 6-7 steps. The plaintiff’s engineer asserted that under the applicable code, continuous lighting instead of sensor activated lighting was required for this area.

The defendant’s engineer maintained that the facility that had fewer than five full time residents was not required by the code to have continuous lighting.

The plaintiff would have countered that the municipality classification of the facility was such that the code provision would apply. The plaintiff would have also produced co-workers who would have testified that there had been intermittent difficulties with the sensor system not functioning properly and that it had made complaints to management.

The defendant denied receiving complaints. The defendant also moved for Summary Judgment on the Workers’ Compensation bar, contending that the plaintiff was an employee. The plaintiff countered that she was employed by a separate related corporation and denied that the bar applied.

The Court denied the defendant’s motion.

The plaintiff’s orthopedist would have related that the plaintiff suffered a tri-malleolar fracture that was treated with surgery and the insertion of hardware. The plaintiff also maintained that the extra stress placed on the other leg resulted in a tear of the medial meniscus that required arthroscopic surgery.

The plaintiff asserted that she will suffer permanent pain and difficulties ambulating.
The plaintiff missed approximately 1 1/2 years from work,
The defendant denied that the knee condition was causally related.

The case settled prior to trial for $325,000.


Plaintiff’s engineer expert: Michael Natoli, PE from Totowa, NJ. Plaintiff’s orthopedic surgeon expert: Gregg S. Berkowitz, MD from Freehold, NJ.

Simms vs. A.W.S. Foundation, Inc.. Docket no. MON-L-3442-15.

Attorney for plaintiff : Randolph H. Wolf ofWolf Law in Red Bank, NJ.