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$300,000 Settlement in New York City Jail Prisoner’s Slip and Fall Accident

The City of New York paid $300,000 to settle a prisoner’s slip and fall injury. The settlement came after a jury was picked for trial.

As prisoner Troy Washington was walking back to his cell at the Rikers Island jail, he slipped and fell in a puddle of water. He claimed that his November 12, 2004 fall could have been prevented had prison officials fixed a leaky pipe, of which they had actual and constructive notice, in the ceiling that caused the puddle.

Prison officials, however, contended there was no leaky pipe and that Washington was injured during a fight. In discovery, Washington requested documents to prove his claim. After prison officials refused to provide those documents, the trial court entered a conditional order that required the City to provide the discovery materials or have their answer struck.

When the City refused to provide the ordered discovery, their answer was struck. Following a fruitless appeal, the matter proceeded to trial on damages only. The trial court granted a motion in limine that significantly reduced introduction of Washington’s criminal history, redaction of his medical records to mention the fight, and limited use of a DVD surveillance that was unfavorable to Washington.

At trial, Washington would have proven that he suffered a comminuted fracture of the left distal radius (broken wrist). That fracture required open reduction-internal fixation that left Washington with limited motion of his wrist.

Following his attorney’s advice, Washington accepted the $300,000 settlement offer before the jury received opening statements. To secure the August 11, 2009 settlement, Washington was ably represented by New York City attorney Brad A. Kauffman. See: Washington v. The City of New York, Bronx Supreme Court, Index No. 6308/06.

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Related legal case

Washington v. The City of New York

Please see the brief bank for documents related to this case.