Trip-and-fall at House of Blues results in elbow injury, chronic pain. $700,000. Los Angeles County.


Restaurant/night club installs trench cover on sidewalk, patron trips on raised edge of cover. $175,000 pretrial offer from defense.

The Case

  • Case Name: Rene Gray v. House of Blues Los Angeles Restaurant Corp.
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court-Van Nuys / SC118037
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, June 09, 2014
  • Date Action was Filed: Wednesday, August 08, 2012
  • Type of Case: Premises Liability
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Michael Harwin
  • Plaintiffs:
    Rene Gray, 54, employee of Federal Express.
  • Defendants:
    House of Blues Los Angeles Restaurant Corp
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $700,000
  • Net Verdict or Award: $700,000
  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: 0
  • Economic Damages:

    Wage Loss: $18,000

    Past Medical Expenses: $75,000

    Future Medical Expenses: $7,000

    Total: $100,000

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past Pain and Suffering: $50,000

    Future Pain and Suffering: $550,000

    Total: $600,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 7 days
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 35 minutes
  • Jury Polls: 10-2 for plaintiff

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Ariel Law Group by Scott A. Kennedy (Of Counsel), Los Angeles.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Hewitt & Truszkowski by Henry Truszkowski, North Hollywood.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Experts:
    Stuart Gold, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Torrance.
  • Defendant's Medical Experts:
    Scott Foreman, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Newport Beach.
  • Plaintiff's Technical Experts:
    Brad Averit, PE, civil engineering, Marina del Rey.
  • Defendant's Technical Experts:
    Kenneth Solomon, Ph.D., civil engineering, Woodland Hills.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff attended a concert at the House of Blues on Sunset Boulevard. When plaintiff and a friend walked outside for a break, plaintiff tripped and fell over a metal trench cover installed in the walkway by defendant. The metal trench cover had an exposed edge that was raised approximately one inch off the walkway and caught plaintiff's foot as she walked by it. Plaintiff fell and suffered a fractured radial head of the left elbow.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That defendant, House of Blues, negligently maintained the metal trench cover and failed to inspect it despite having to repair it two to three times before the date of plaintiff's fall.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That the metal trench cover was in a reasonably safe condition and was a trivial defect that plaintiff should have seen.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Comminuted and intra-articular fracture of the radial head of the left elbow that required three surgeries to repair. Plaintiff will need a nerve release surgery in the future and will have pain for the rest of her life.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $7,5000
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $30,000
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $18,000
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: 0

Demands and Offers

  • Defendant Final Offer before Trial: $175,000