Lane vs. Whiting Turner


    This contractual indemnity case ended in a defense verdict. The underlying case involved a slip and fall by plaintiff Jimmie Ann Lane. Ms. Lane tripped and fell at the front entrance of cross-complainant's, Rite Aid Store in the City of Long Beach. Ms. Lane alleged that in addition to tripping on ice cream, she fell due to the unsafe slope of the brick entryway. Three years prior to the fall, cross-defendant Whiting-Turner had been the general contractor retained to remodel the store. Just prior to completion and before the grand opening, Rite Aid requested that Whiting-Turner replace the old brick pavers with new ones. Upon being told that by Whiting-Turner that a change in brick would require excavation and redesign to make the slope comply with building codes, Rite Aid ignored the advice and insisted that the bricks be changed, but the slope could remain. Rite Aid tried the case seeking for attorneys fees of $60,000 as well reimbursement for the $20,000 they paid to the plaintiff to settle the underlying case. The judge found in favor of Whiting-Turner and awarded Rite Aid nothing. As the prevailing party, Whiting-Turner is now seeking all of its costs and attorneys fees.

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