Sylvia Duban vs. Ruby's Restaurant Group, et al.


    Christopher Faenza obtained a judgment of nonsuit in this slip and fall occurring at Ruby's Restaurant in Palm Springs. Plaintiff slipped on "something," but could not identify what substance was on the floor. As a result of her fall, she fractured her pelvis and was hospitalized for a week, followed by a stay in a skilled nursing facility. As a complication of the fracture, plaintiff developed a deep vein thrombosis, which was treated with medication during a few day hospitalization. Plaintiff developed knee pain three months after the fall and ultimately had arthroscopic knee surgery. Plaintiff also had a knee replacement, which counsel tried to relate to the fall, but the judge excluded that procedure based on a defense motion prior to trial for lack of competent evidence showing a causal link. Prior to trial, plaintiff made a statutory demand of $349,999.99 to settle the case. Defendant Ruby's offered $10,000.

    The case went to trial in Indio before Judge Douglas Paul Miller in Department 2-F. The plaintiff brought forth a witness to describe the condition of the floor after the plaintiff fell. Plaintiff's friend, Milton Flack, testified that there was something on the floor, but he did not know what it was other than it was "wet." Plaintiff's husband, Abe Duban, testified that he also felt something "wet.". Mr. Duban stated that the accident was very traumatic to him and his wife and that she was not the same person after the fall. Plaintiff called a slip-and-fall expert, Stephen Rosen, PhD., to testify that Ruby's should have had carpeting or mats in the restaurant instead of flooring, but otherwise was not critical of Ruby's maintenance or its procedures. He testified the restaurant complied with all applicable codes.

    At the conclusion of plaintiff's case, a motion for nonsuit was made based upon plaintiff's failure to provide any evidence of negligence on the part of Ruby's. After hearing argument, Judge Miller granted the motion and dismissed the jury.

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