Lawyers Negotiate Settlement of Injury Claim for Slip in School Cafeteria

Lawyers have reached a negotiated settlement of an injury claim for a slip in a school cafeteria four days into a jury trial to determine liability.

Dawn DiSalvio was a cafeteria worker at the Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, when on 30 January 2008 she slipped on liquid which had allegedly leaked out from milk containers that had been delivered to the school that morning.

Dawn fell heavily and suffered a severe spinal cord injury for which she spent 73 days in hospital and received dozens of epidural steroid injections. She is confined to a wheelchair, still suffers chronic pain from her injury, and has been subsequently diagnosed with neurological impairments, incontinence and depression.

After seeking legal advice, Dawn made an injury claim for a slip in a school cafeteria against Cream-O-Land Dairy – the company responsible for the milk delivery – claiming that the dairy´s delivery driver failed to comply with industry standards for checking there was no leakage before leaving the premises.

Cream-O-Land Dairy denied their liability for Dawn´s injuries, arguing that no damaged packaging had been identified at the time of the accident or since, and contested that her fall could have been attributable to her prior medical history of morbid obesity, gait dysfunction and problems with her right knee; which could have given way as she was retrieving items from the walk-in refrigerator in which the milk had been placed.

As no acceptable agreement could be reached, a jury trial was scheduled to be heard in Philadelphia´s Court of Common Pleas before Judge Frederica Massiah-Jackson. However, just four days into the hearing, lawyers announced that they had reached a negotiated settlement of Dawn´s injury claim for a slip in a school cafeteria for $6.5 million.

On hearing that a settlement had been agreed upon, Judge Massiah-Jackson dismissed the jury and closed the case.