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Hawaii Prisoner Awarded $20,000 in Slip and Fall Lawsuit

A Hawaii State Court has awarded a prisoner$20,000 for injuries incurred in a negligence claim stemming from a slip and fall, incident. While imprisoned at the Halawa High Security Facility on January 26, 2006, Joseph Sampiao was walking down the smooth concrete walkway to the shower in his quad.

As he was about to turn into the shower area, he slipped and fell in water on the floor. There was no shower curtain and there was a leak in the shower wall, which allowed water to escape/leak onto the walkway. Hanging on the wall were two floor mats.

At the four day trial, Sampiao presented the testimony of an expert who performed a coefficient of friction on the concrete floor and adjacent tile, finding it was well below the safe standard. The court found that not only was the floor unsafe when wet, but the condition had been brought to the attention of the administrative guard. In addition, there were prior slip and falls in the same area in September 2004.

The court held that the constantly wet concrete and tile floor outside the shower constituted an unreasonable risk of harm to persons walking in the area. The state failed to fulfill its duty to take reasonable steps to eliminate or warn against the condition that knew of or should have known about.

Sampiao was awarded $10,000 for future medical treatment of surgery on his back and $10,000 for general damages. He was awarded $10,880 in costs. The state was also awarded costs of $7,490.40, which most likely occurred from the trial after Sampiao rejected the state’s $35,000 settlement offer prior to trial. See: Sampiao v. State of Hawaii, Hawaii State Court, case No: 060751.

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Related legal case

Sampiao v. State of Hawaii