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Queen v. Woman's Hospital Foundation

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

October 31, 2018

COURTNEY QUEEN
v.
WOMAN'S HOSPITAL FOUNDATION

          On Appeal from the Nineteenth Judicial District Court In and for the Parish of East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana Docket No. C649, 638 Honorable Janice Clark, Judge Presiding

          William D. Grimley Baton Rouge, Louisiana Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellee Courtney Queen

          Randall L. Champagne Baton Rouge, Louisiana Counsel for Defendant/ Appellant Woman's Hospital Foundation

          BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C.J., McCLENDON, WELCH, HIGGINBOTHAM, & CRAIN, JJ.

          McCLENDON, J.

         Appellant, Woman's Hospital Foundation ("Woman's Hospital"), appeals a judgment in favor of appellee, Courtney Queen, awarding damages for injuries sustained in a slip-and-fall accident. For the following reasons, we reverse.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The underlying suit arises out of a personal injury suffered by Ms. Queen at Woman's Hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. On December 1, 2015, at around 8:50 p.m., Mr. Isiah Smith, who was employed as a floor tech at Woman's Hospital, was mopping the landing area near the second floor elevators. Ms. Queen, who had been visiting a relative at the hospital, entered the elevator on the hospital's first floor and proceeded up to the second floor.[1] Prior to Ms. Queen exiting the elevator on the second floor, Mr. Smith had set up two (2) wet floor signs by the elevators, one at the outer edge of the elevator landing area and one in front of and in between the two back elevators. Ms. Queen indicated that she saw Mr. Smith as she was exiting the elevators, and surveillance video reflects that she went around one of the wet floor signs. Thereafter, she slipped and fell to the floor causing injuries to her back and left knee.

         On July 6, 2016, Ms. Queen filed suit against Woman's Hospital, alleging that Woman's Hospital was negligent for, among other things, creating a hazardous condition and failing to take steps to adequately safeguard the public. Woman's Hospital answered the petition, generally denying Ms. Queen's allegations.

         Following a bench trial, the trial court adopted Ms. Queen's proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law and rendered judgment in favor of Ms. Queen and against Woman's Hospital, awarding Ms. Queen $43, 837.00 in damages.

         Woman's Hospital has appealed, assigning the following as error:

1. The trial court erred in ruling Appellant - Defendant, Woman's Hospital Medical Center, was at fault, as the findings of the trial court ignored the clear law and jurisprudence in regards to alleged slip and falls on the premises of a hospital, and the reasonableness of the measures used by Woman's Hospital Foundation.
2. Alternatively, if this Court determines Defendant - Appellant was at fault, which is at all times denied, the trial court erred in not assessing fault to the Plaintiff - Appellee, Courtney Queen, despite her obvious comparative fault.
3. The Trial Court erred in its excessive award of damages to the Plaintiff - Appellee, considering her limited ...

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