Case Closed: Premises Liability Victory

Rebeccah Graham recently represented a woman who fell down a set of three steps at the LeMay-America’s Car Museum in the City of Tacoma, breaking her elbow, nose, and hitting her head. This blow to her head resulted in a traumatic brain injury. Fortunately, this client came to our office within a couple of weeks of her injuries. We were able to send the LeMay Museum a preservation letter, meaning that they were under order to preserve any evidence of this fall. The museum, which had 92 security cameras, eventually turned over the damaging video that showed our client missing the top step and suddenly tumbling down three steps to a concrete landing.

During the course of litigation, Rebeccah learned that six other people had fallen down the same stairs, in the same or similar location. Rebeccah tracked down several people who had been injured, taking statements from them that showed they had fallen in a similar manner as our client. We requested, but never received video of these falls, despite museum personnel claiming that they retain video whenever anyone is injured on the premises.

Rebeccah went to the Court multiple times to ask the Judge to order LeMay to produce the video of all of the prior falls. In its defense, the museum claimed the video never existed or was never preserved and that it could not produce something that did not exist. Through Rebeccah’s hard work and perseverance, she was able to show that LeMay was not being truthful. This required combing through thousands of pages of documents and filing multiple motions with the Court. The judge agreed that LeMay willfully and intentionally failed to turn over the video footage and that the museum knew how important this video evidence would be at trial. The Court ruled that the museum could not argue that our client was in any way at fault, nor could it argue that there was nothing wrong with the stairs. The judge also fined the museum financially, to the tune of $68,000.00, as a sanction for their misconduct. The museum filed an appeal of the Court’s ruling, an uphill battle since intermediary appeals are rarely granted. This appeal was denied and eventually, the museum paid all the fines.

As a result of all of this work, we were in a great position to resolve this case since the case became only about our client’s damages and not about the liability of the museum. It settled for a very satisfactory amount.

If you or a loved one was injured on the premises of another or a business, please give Rebeccah Graham at Maxwell Graham, PS a call. We can help determine whether there is a valid claim and if it makes sense to hire an attorney to get just compensation for your injuries.