Defense Wins! – Binding Arbitration

In the time of Covid, jury trials are few and far between, but some cases are not meant to be settled. In these situations I highly recommend binding arbitration. The plaintiff gets her “day in court”, the price is extremely reasonable compared to a trial, it is highly efficient because it fully resolves the case and the result is typically spot-on as judge familiar with analyzing the law and damages hears the case.

Case in point – my latest defense win was with a binding arbitration.

The plaintiff claimed she slipped and fell in a grocery store produce section due to water and grapes on the floor. As a result of the fall, the plaintiff claimed she injured her shoulder and knee, resulting in surgery to both areas. While this may seem like a case that would typically be settled, the following facts came out during discovery:

  • The plaintiff admitted she saw wet foot prints and water tracked in on the feet of customers from snow outside all over the produce section BEFORE she fell.
  • The plaintiff admitted she saw 3-4 green grapes on the floor in front of the grape display BEFORE she fell.
  • The plaintiff was walking to the grape display to get grapes when she fell and it was the last item she needed.
  • The plaintiff admitted the grapes were not smashed until after she fell.
  • The plaintiff never testified she was distracted in any way.
  • There were 3 produce employees working and they would have been on the store floor every 15-30 minutes.
  • The plaintiff was in the store 15-20 minutes before the fall, first in the produce section (she did not see grapes on the floor), then into other aisle and then back to the produce section to get grapes and that is when she fell.

Despite all of this evidence, the Cook County judge denied summary judgment for my client. The judge’s reasoning was not supported by the law or facts of the case so we filed a motion to reconsider pointing out all of the errors in the application of the law, but the motion was denied. We then filed a motion for leave to appeal and that motion was denied as well.

After the completion of treater depositions the parties agreed to binding arbitration rather than wait for a trial date. The process was quick and efficient, the judge read everything presented to her and listened to the witnesses and we had a ruling within a few days. The case is now fully resolved with no chance for appeal or further motions. It is truly a great way to resolve a case.

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