$135,250 for brachial plexus injury when metal bar falls from retail shelving. Riverside County.


Pet store customer injured when metal bar falls from shelving unit under construction; defendant says she shouldn't have been in the store.

The Case

  • Case Name: Rutan v. Baker
  • Court and Case Number: Riverside Superior/ RIC524225
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Friday, December 09, 2011
  • Type of Case: Premises Liability
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Craig G. Riemer
  • Plaintiffs:
    Aurora Rutan, in her 40s, day-care provider
  • Defendants:
    Kathleen Baker, James Baker, Spoiled Pets and Accessories
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $135,250
  • Net Verdict or Award: $104,819 - reduced due to comparative negligence (22.5%).
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 2 days
  • Jury Polls: 10-2 on most votes

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:
    Kyle J. Scott Law Firm by Kyle J. Scott, Newport Beach
  • Attorney for the Defendant:
    Bonnie R. Moss & Associates by Mark R. Devey, Riverside

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Experts:
    Ernestina Saxton, M.D., neurology, Los Angeles
    Castoria Seymore, M.D., pain management, Inglewood
  • Defendant's Medical Experts:
    Jeffrey A. Bounds, M.D., neurology, Loma Linda

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On Feb. 17, 2008 plaintiff went into the defendant pet store. A metal bar fell off a shelving unit and hit plaintiff.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    No sign was present regarding work being done on the shelving unit and no one advised her to not enter or remain in store.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Plaintiff entered store when it was closed for remodeling. Defendants claimed to have told plaintiff to leave the store. Plaintiff's symptoms were due to pre-existing problems such as stress and Bell's Palsy.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Brachial plexus injury, causalgia, chronic pain syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome, headaches, neck injury, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, and shoulder injury.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $87,500 after Howell reductions.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $60,000.00

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $1 million