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$600,000 Settlement for Shopper Fall in Appliance Store

Corboy & Demetrio Partner Francis Patrick Murphy has secured a $600,000 settlement from the appliance store ABT Electronics, Inc. on behalf of a Chicago woman for an ankle injury she suffered in 2002.  The settlement was approved on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 by Judge Deborah Mary Dooling.  The trial was scheduled to start a day earlier.

On October 5, 2002, the 58-year-old victim went to the new ABT store in Glenview.  She was directed by a sales associate to the back of the globe display area to view stackable washers and dryers.  The area was raised about a foot above the main floor with an intermediate step around the display area, except for four feet near the appliances.  The victim went to step down to look at other units without looking, assuming the step extended around the entire area.  She fell spraining her right ankle.

“It was more than a sprain,” said Francis Patrick Murphy, a partner at Corboy & Demetrio. “It was a ligament tear along the outside of her ankle.  This caused the ankle to buckle on a number of occasions and caused her to fall and suffer more injuries.  The victim eventually had three ankle surgeries,” Murphy said.

“While the original design may have been acceptable for the singular purpose as the display for the 5,000 pound steel globe, when ABT added a second purpose of displaying appliances where the step gap was located, it became dangerous to shoppers,” Murphy added.  “The evidence at trial would have shown that ABT knew this danger and used a potted plant as a barrier before erecting permanent guards to prevent further falls,” he said. 

“Product display is a science,” Murphy commented “and customer safety should never be compromised in that science.  Unfortunately, because safety was neglected, our client has suffered a life-long bad ankle.” 

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