Arizona Court of Appeals Affirms $1.5 Million Verdict
April 15, 2011
A kindergarten teacher represented by Tucson personal injury attorneys Louis Hollingsworth and Michael Kelly, from the Hollingsworth Kelly Law Firm, was awarded $1.5 million in damages against BCI Coca-Cola for a slip and fall accident in a local grocery store. In August 2009, a jury found BCI Coca-Cola Bottling Company liable for the unsafe conditions that caused the accident. BCI Coca-Cola appealed the verdict. The Court of Appeals for the State of Arizona, Division Two, affirmed the jury award.
A Pima County Superior Court found that while shopping in a local Fry’s Food and Drug, the woman slipped and fell on water that had leaked from a refrigerator owned by BCI Coca-Cola Bottling Company. She suffered a herniated disk, which required surgery, and has experienced chronic pain since the injury. Although the defendant argued that the Fry’s grocery store, where the incident occurred, was 100 percent liable, service records revealed the refrigerator had a history of leaking for two years prior to the accident but was never replaced by BCI Coca-Cola.
According to Pima County Superior Court records, Hollingsworth Kelly Law Firm personal injury attorneys filed a slip and fall lawsuit on behalf of the kindergarten teacher after BCI Coca-Cola refused to settle for the requested amount of $149,000, instead countering with an offer of $30,000. A four-day trial ensued, during which the jury heard testimony from the plaintiff’s chiropractor and reviewed store surveillance tapes that recorded the incident.
The case of Metzler v BCI Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Inc. (Pima County Superior Court Case No. 2007-2433) was handed to the jury to determine a fair and reasonable amount for the injury and permanent spinal pain the plaintiff will suffer; after three hours of deliberation the jury returned with the $1.5 million award. BCI Coca-Cola Bottling Company appealed the judgment, but the Court of Appeals upheld the jury’s decision on March 16, 2011.
Attorneys for the BCI Coca-Cola Company did not file a petition for review with the Arizona Supreme Court pursuant to Rule 23 of the Arizona Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure.
“We are very pleased that the jury in this case understood the true nature and extent of our client’s injury and the devastating effect it has had on our client’s life,” said Michael F. Kelly, attorney for the Firm. “We are equally pleased that the Court of Appeals chose to respect the jury’s decision.”