George Robinson was making a delivery to a Defendant’s warehouse. As he was going through a door to make a delivery for his employer, he tried to hold it open for an exiting UPS delivery man. The door unexpectedly sucked close and traumatically amputated part of his right index finger.
He was working at the time and pursued a Workers’ Compensation claim. We did not represent him in that and he settled that case. He then came to us and we pursued a premises liability claim for the dangerous condition of the door.
I took the designee deposition of the Defendant and made the case. He admitted that because of the exhaust fans in the warehouse, a draft would suck at the door at issue and cause it to close hard. This was a longstanding problem and the draft could slam the door hard. Here’s the door:
There was also a door closer apparatus at the top of the door which had never been repaired or adjusted. Door closers usually work to slow how doors close so that people’s digits are not slammed in a door jam. He admitted this did not work for a long time with the door at issue, had never been repaired, and had never been adjusted.
We conclusively proved the Defendant had knowledge of this hard door closing and its danger for a long time prior to the incident at issue in this case. The Defendant’s designee admitted the door was unsafe. He agreed that the force with which the door closed was very hard.
We thought we would succeed in showing the jury that the door suddenly slamming shut was a dangerous condition of Defendant’s premises. Defendant knew of but did not warn of this condition. The Defendant failed to either prop the door open or maintain the door closer to ensure that injuries like what happened to Mr. Robinson would occur. Or it could warn of the condition or do other changes to affect the draft.
George had an initial revision of the right index finger at the level of the middle distal phalanx and later needed another surgery to remove parts of the finger to help healing and try to stop some pain George experienced.
In his deposition, Mr. Robinson complained of daily pain and aches, numbness and sensitivity in his finger. He complained of swelling which increased over the course of the day. He was a piano player and essentially stopped playing because the amputated finger throws him off. He cannot type well with his shortened finger on a keyboard.
George had about $20,000 in billed medical expenses and we settled his claim for $220,000. We paid of his work comp lien after successfully reducing it.