In Schoening v. David R. Lyons Revocable Trust, Greg and Jason Kafoury on Friday, August 30, received a jury verdict of $725,000 for Tammy Schoening, a 52 year old ophthalmological tech who suffered major injuries when she slipped on a round river rock on a sidewalk in front of commercial property at 1215 Willamette Street in Eugene.
The Lyons Revocable Trust owned the property, and had maintained planters on the sidewalk with exotic plants since the 1960s. In 2008, a tenant of a neighboring building received permission from the defendant’s tenant to remove the dead and dying plants from one of the planters, and replace them with round, smooth river rocks, which were purchased for $1 for each five gallon bucket. The planter was about 10 by 4 feet, and was filled with river rocks to the same level as the sidewalk (see attached photo). There was testimony that the rocks would periodically find their way onto the nearby sidewalk, and by the time plaintiff was hurt, the level of rocks had been reduced several inches below the level of the sidewalk. Mr. Lyons testified he was not an absentee owner and that he would go to inspect the property up to 3 times a week to look for graffiti.
Plaintiff suffered a distal fracture of her left wrist requiring a plate and screws, with significant residuals, a compression fracture of L4, and a blown disk at L4-5 that required surgery. The defense doctor, Thomas Dietrich, neurosurgeon, testified that this kind of damage would ordinarily require a fall backwards out of a second-story window.
The jury awarded $550,000 in economic damages, some $65,000 of which were for past medicals, and $175,000 for noneconomic damages. Plaintiff’s PCP, Dr. Mary Gabriele, family practice, and James Morris, MD, a pain management specialist, agreed that plaintiff developed traumatic fibromyalgia as a result of the incident and was disabled.
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The Register-Guard — Greg Bolt (09/05/2013)