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Jurors assign no fault after man trips on store’s sidewalk

David Baugher//July 12, 2022//

Jurors assign no fault after man trips on store’s sidewalk

David Baugher//July 12, 2022//

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A man who stumbled at a Hy-Vee store will not collect any damages in the matter.

“It was primarily a fight over liability,” said defense attorney Jeff Kennard of Scharnhorst Ast Kennard Griffin in Kansas City. “The jury ended up concluding there was no fault on either party.”

Kennard said that the March 2018 incident at the grocery store in Liberty left plaintiff Jeff Magill with a broken shoulder, leg, foot and finger. Magill claimed there was a deviation in the height of the sidewalk, causing him to stub his right big toe so forcefully that it fractured his right foot.

Magill alleged that he stumbled several steps and drove his left shoulder into his vehicle, which was parked in the space next to the curb at the end of the sidewalk. He then allegedly fell to the ground and broke his right leg and finger.

The defense said that Magill simply tripped.

“The sum total of our position was that the sidewalk was perfectly normal concrete,” Kennard said. “It wasn’t unreasonably unsafe.”

He said that photos of the spot were introduced into evidence.

“I think the jury ultimately concluded that the sidewalk was normal and there was no variance that exceeded normal tolerances for a commercial sidewalk,” he said.

Kennard said the plaintiff had around $48,000 in medical expenses and claimed $60,000 in lost wages. He said there was no dispute over the extent of injury.

He said that the plaintiff sought punitive damages in the matter because it was alleged that someone at the store had identified the problem years earlier. However, the judge entered a directed verdict on that claim at the close of evidence.

Steven Coronado and Jennifer Donnelli of Baty Otto Coronado Scheer represented the plaintiff. Donnelli deferred comment to Coronado, who did not return a message.

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Defense verdict

Premises liability

Venue: Clay County Circuit Court

Case Number/Date: 19CY-CV09034/May 19, 2022

Judge: Shane Alexander

Plaintiffs’ Expert: James Kesl, North Kansas City (orthopedic surgeon)

Special Damages: $48,000 in paid medical expenses, $60,000 in claimed lost wages

Caption: Jeff and Pam Magill v. Hy-Vee Inc.

Plaintiffs’ Attorneys: Steven Coronado and Jennifer Donnelli, Baty Otto Coronado Scheer, Kansas City

Defendant’s Attorneys: Jeffrey Kennard and Alex McKenna, Scharnhorst Ast Kennard Griffin, Kansas City

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