Resident of senior apartment complex trips on low barrier. $3.5M. Yolo County.


Elderly resident trips and falls over parking stop that partially obstructed walkway.

The Case

  • Case Name: Nicholls v. Eskaton Properties, Inc., et al.
  • Court and Case Number: Yolo County Superior / CVPO-2017-916
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, April 29, 2019
  • Date Action was Filed: Wednesday, June 07, 2017
  • Type of Case: Premises Liability, Trip and Fall
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Peter Williams
  • Plaintiffs:
    Allure Nicholls, 80.
  • Defendants:
    Eskaton Properties, Inc., Eskaton Inc.
    Josh Heckman Construction Co.
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $3,500,000
  • Net Verdict or Award: $2,450,000
  • Award as to each Defendant:

    Award against Eskaton, Inc. & Eskaton Properties Inc. Defense verdict for Josh Heckman Construction Company.

  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: 30% to plaintiff; 70% to Eskaton; 0% to Josh Heckman Construction Co.
  • Economic Damages:


  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past: $2,000,000

    Future: $1,500,000 

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 3 weeks.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 3 days.
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Motion for costs.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Louis White PC by Jamil Louis White and Andrey Yurtsan, Sacramento.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Low McKinley Baleria & Salenko, LLP by Donna Low and Thomas Garberson, Sacramento. (For Eskaton Properties, Inc., Eskaton Inc.)

    Ericksen Arbuthnot by Graham Cridland, Sacramento. (For Josh Heckman Construction Co.)

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Edward Younger, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Carmichael.

    Philip Orisek, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Folsom.

    Steven Kamajian, DO, CMD, FACOFP, acute and long-term care, Glendale.

    Stephen Rapaski, M.D., neuropsychology, Sacramento.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Peter Salamon, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Stockton.

    Gary Steinke, M.D., geriatrics, San Jose.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    William Martin, architecture.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Jay Carey, general contracting.

    James LaCroix, general contracting.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff was a resident at Eskaton Wilson Manor, a senior apartment complex managed by Eskaton defendants exclusivlely for the elderly and disabled. On June 3, 2016, plaintiff was leaving the clubhouse at premises and used a side handicap ramp to walk back to her residence. At the base of the ramp, defendant Josh Heckman Construction Co. had placed a concrete parking block that partially blocked off the pathway used by residents to cross the property to access the only garbage dump on site, and to access the parking lot and clubhouse.

    Plaintiff tripped on this parking block as she exited the ramp and suffered a broken wrist, crushed knee cap, and burst fracture to her T-12 vertebrae. 

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Plaintiff contended Josh Heckman Construction Co. negligently constructed the parking lot in placing the wheel stop in a location that created a dangerous condition. Plaintiff contended Eskaton, Inc., & Eskaton Properties, Inc. managed and controlled the property and failed to remove the wheel stop after three residents complained about tripping on it.

  • Defendant's Contentions:
    Defendants introduced evidence that the premises were safe, there were no previous complaints from residents about the wheel stop and that plaintiff fell because she was inattentive and distracted.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Displaced comminuted fracture of distal radius, comminuted fracture of patella and torn patella tendon, burst fracture of T12 vertebrae.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: Waived.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: Waived.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $999,000.

Additional Notes

Eskaton Inc. & Eskaton Properties, Inc. served plaintiff a 998 for $0.00. Plaintiff served Eskaton Inc. & Eskaton Properties, Inc. a 998 for $999,000.