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Franklin & Prokopik, P.C. secures complete reversal of $400,000 jury verdict in a premises liability case
POSTED FEBRUARY 25, 2021
Franklin & Prokopik, P.C. in Maryland secures complete reversal of $400,000 jury verdict in a premises liability case, On February 25, 2021, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals reversed a $400,000 jury verdict entered against one of Franklin & Prokopik’s retail clients in 2019. The case involved a customer who sued a grocery store, alleging that she was struck while shopping by a stocking cart being pushed by a vendor who was at the store stocking its merchandise. Plaintiff claimed that the vendor should be treated as the grocery store’s employee. Plaintiff’s counsel, who deployed the “Reptile Theory” in opening and closing arguments, also argued that because the business had no security footage of the incident, the business must have spoliated/destroyed evidence. There was no evidence offered of the destruction of video at trial. Instead, the store owner testified that the store’s surveillance system did not capture the incident at issue.
Over challenges raised by the store, the trial court allowed the jury to decide whether the vendor was an employee of the store and provided jury instruction related to spoliation of evidence. The jury found in favor of Plaintiff at trial. On appeal, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals reversed the jury’s verdict and ordered that a defense judgment be entered in favor of the store. Firm Principal Steve Marshall tried the jury trial and briefed and argued the successful appeal. For additional details, click here.