Breaking chair leads to verdict of $85,529. Los Angeles County.


Shopper sat in a mall food court. When the chair leg broke, she suffered injuries that continued to plague her.

The Case

  • Case Name: Eileen Thomas v. Westfield, LLC
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior/SC111058
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Thursday, March 29, 2012
  • Date Action was Filed: Friday, January 14, 2011
  • Type of Case: Premises Liability
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Richard A. Stone, Jr.
  • Plaintiffs:
    Eileen Thomas, 49, school teacher
  • Defendants:
    Westfield, LLC
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $85,529
  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 3 days
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 4 1/2 hours

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:
    Nagler & Associates by Daniel L. Nagler, Los Angeles
  • Attorney for the Defendant:
    Demler, Armstrong & Rowland by Timothy J. Lippert, Long Beach

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Experts:
    Walter O’Brien, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Los Angeles
  • Defendant's Medical Experts:
    Richard C. Rosenberg, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Tarzana
  • Plaintiff's Technical Experts:
  • Defendant's Technical Experts:
    John Brault, biomechanics, Mission Viejo

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Date and place of incident: Nov. 1, 2009/ Westfield Century City Mall

    Facts: Plaintiff was sitting at a food court table when the left, front leg of the chair she sat in broke.Please show claims, contentions and all disputed matters under contentions rather than facts. Facts stated here should be only those in evidence.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That Westfield should be held liable for the chair breaking. When the chair broke, plaintiff had to hold tightly to the edge of the table in order to avoid hitting the floor. The force and tension she used holding on, caused injury to her neck, shoulders, back and arms.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant admitted liability, but argued that the incident was minor and that plaintiff's treatment was unnecessary and excessive.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Plaintiff visited her chiropractor the day after the accident. She was found to have multiple bulging discs in her neck, as well as soft tissue strains to her neck, shoulders, arms and back. She underwent 15 months of physical therapy and missed 17 ½ days of work. Plaintiff continues to experience residual pain, anxiety and trouble sleeping.

  • Lost earnings from missed work due to injuries, pain and suffering.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $35,000
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $15,000