Johnson filed suit in state court arguing that among other things, the jail was negligently designed because it did not meet state codes for landing and stairwell design. Had those state codes been followed then arguably he would not have been injured because there would have been sufficient room for the cell door to open without striking any people on the landing outside the cell. A jury agreed with Johnson and awarded him $2,400,000. The state appealed and the supreme court of Alaska reversed in part on a jury instruction issue. The court upheld that portion of the jury verdict pertaining to causation and calculation of damages. The reversal was to determine if the state was negligent in building and designing the prison. See: State of Alaska v. Johnson, 2 P.3d 56 (Alaska, 2000). [ PLN, Nov. 2001].
On remand the state settled the case for $1,000,000. Plaintiffs who are injured in "slip and fall" cases in prisons should research and consider negligent prison design theories of liability. Johnson was represented by Anchorage lawyers Marcus Clapp and Thomas Van Flien of the law firm Clapp, Peterson, Stowers. See: Johnson v. State of Alaska .
Additional Source: National Jury Verdict Review & Analysis
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Johnson v. State of Alaska
|Level||State Trial Court|