Personal Injury/Slip & Fall

Style of Case: Patricia Fuentes v. Blasingame Group, Inc., d/b/a Star Realtors

Client: Blasingame Group, Inc., d/b/a Star Realtors

Trial End Date: February 17, 2017

Court: Third Judicial Circuit, Madison County, Illinois

Type of Case: Personal Injury/Slip & Fall

Judge: The Honorable Judge Barbara Crowder

Reed Armstrong Lawyer who tried the case: Tori L. Walls

Jury Verdict

While visiting a property advertised for sale on January 30, 2013, the plaintiff walked onto a cellar door and fell through. HUD owned the property and Hometelos managed it on behalf of HUD. Star Realtors listed the property for sale. The plaintiff went to the property without first calling Star Realtors or anyone associated with the property owner. While there, she stepped directly onto a cellar door on the back patio and fell through the cellar door, landing on the stairs below. She suffered a comminuted fracture of her heel and a navicular fracture that required surgical repair. The plaintiff claimed Star Realtors negligently failed to inspect the property among other allegations of negligence. In addition to the negligence claim, the plaintiff sought punitive damages for willful and wanton conduct. The defense maintained Star Realtors owed no duty to the plaintiff and that it did not negligently inspect the property. The defense further argued the plaintiff’s own negligence contributed to her injuries.

The plaintiff asked the jury to award her compensatory and punitive damages of $625,000.00. Defense counsel suggested the jury award the plaintiff no money, but at most, $10,000.00.

The jury returned a verdict in the defendant’s favor on the willful and wanton count and awarded no punitive damages. On the negligence count, the jury returned a verdict in the plaintiff’s favor for $60,000.00. The jury found the plaintiff to be 45% at fault, thereby reducing her recoverable damages to $33,000.00. Star Realtors received an offset of the verdict for the plaintiff’s pre-trial settlements with other parties, reducing the verdict to zero.

Last Demand: $45,000.00

Verdict: For plaintiff in the amount of $33,000, reduced to $0 (zero) by pre-trial settlements