Slippery When Wet? You Bet.
While the familiar chant is E-A-G-L-E-S, especially at playoff games, our clients chant was P-A-I-N.
It was December 31st, 2000. The Eagles were in the playoffs here against Tampa Bay. Kick off 4:00 p.m. Our client – a young woman – attended the game with her fiance and another couple. With snow the previous day and the temperature dropping during the game, it set the stage for a winter sporting event.
People Were Losing Their Footing and Falling
When our client and her friends were leaving the stadium after the game, they had an unusual experience. As they were walking through the 200-level concourse it looked and felt like an ice skating rink. Picture this: People were losing their footing and slipping. Everywhere. Despite her cautious actions – taking very small steps and holding onto her fiancées arm our client suddenly lost her footing and fell forward, first landing on her knees and then her face.
Concussion, Torn Rotator Cuff, Herniated Discs
As a result of her fall, over the next two years, our client suffered, and was treated for, a concussion, a torn rotator cuff in her shoulder and two herniated discs in her neck. We discovered later, that unlike the rest of the stadium with concrete floors, the 200 level concourse was covered with a hard rubber surface. We filed suit against a number of defendants, including the stadiums maintenance company and the City of Philadelphia, the owner of the stadium.
Defendants Position Could Hurt Our Case
Here’s a summary of the defendants’ position:
1. There was really nothing they could do to prevent such an accident.
2. Anytime you have approximately 65,000 people walking in and out of a stadium they are going to carry in moisture and snow from the outside.
3. Nothing can be done to prevent spills of ice, drinks or food which people are buying and carrying through the stadium.
Obviously, we viewed these as potentially dangerous defenses which could be accepted by a jury and possibly result in a verdict against our client.
Double the Amount of Reported Injuries
In the course of taking depositions, we learned three crucial facts:
1. Just one week before this game, there were several internal memos written by Eagles’ personel describing a “slippery film” all over the 200 level concourse. These memos did not describe the source of the film, but simply identified it as a serious problem which caused there to be more than DOUBLE the normal amount of injuries reported at the stadiums infirmary.
2. We learned the maintenance company did not take any extraordinary steps to determine what caused this “slippery film” nor did they take any extraordinary measures to clean the stadium, beyond their normal routine.
3. The rubber flooring, in the 200 level concourse, was not generally used in open air stadiums because it has a tendency to become extremely slippery when wet.
Aesthetics Over Your Safety
Upon further investigation, we learned the rubberized flooring was installed for the 1996 All-Star Game at Veterans Stadium and it had been a recurring problem ever since. We retained an engineer who surveyed all of the local stadiums and found that while the rubberized flooring looks attractive, it does present a higher risk of patrons falling than the standard concrete flooring.
Settlement for Slippery Stadium
Armed with this powerful information, we pressed for a jury trial in Philadelphia.
During the process
We settled with two of the less culpable defendants. (Aramark and the Eagles).
One week prior to trial
We received the first settlement offer from the City of Philadelphia and the maintenance company.
After four days of negotiation
We were able to achieve a final settlement in an amount just under $200,000.00
Our client made a good recovery from her injuries, completed college, and is on her way to a successful nursing career. She still cheers for the Eagles! If you have questions about this issue, please contact us.