$7.5 million verdict for chiropractor’s slip and fall in Starbucks. San Diego County.


A Starbucks customer fell on a tile floor that the manager had just mopped. The customer hit his head on the floor and was knocked unconscious. The defense offered $100,000, but the jury decided the case was worth over $7 million.

The Case

  • Case Name: Anthony Zaccaglin, et al v. Starbucks Coffee Company
  • Court and Case Number: San Diego Superior/37-2009-00084460-CU-PO-NC
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Friday, December 23, 2011
  • Date Action was Filed: Tuesday, March 03, 2009
  • Type of Case: Premises Liability, Slip and Fall
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Timothy M. Casserly
  • Plaintiffs:
    Anthony Zaccaglin, age 48, chiropractor; Lisa Zaccaglin (wife)
  • Defendants:
    Starbucks Coffee Company
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $7,456,231. (Includes $1 million to wife for loss of consortium.)

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:
    The Gomez Law Firm by John H. Gomez, James Iagmin and Jessica Sizemore, San Diego
  • Attorney for the Defendant:
    Law Offices of Shayne Figgins by Shayne Figgins, Universal City

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Experts:
    Monte Buchsbaum, M.D., PET scans, San Diego
    Doreen Casuto, R.N., life care planning, San Diego
    Robert B. Hall, Ph.D., M.A., B.A., vocational rehabilitation, San Diego
    Michael Lobatz, M.D., neurology, Oceanside
    Martin Magy, Ph.D., neuropsychology, Vista
    Elise Reed, D.O., Vista
  • Defendant's Medical Experts:
    David D. Fox, Ph.D., clinical psychology and neuropsychology, Glendale
    John Hochman, M.D., psychiatry, Los Angeles
    Kenneth Nudleman, M.D., neurology, Santa Ana
    Amy M. Sutton, BSN, MA, Ph.D., CLCP, CRRN, life care planning, Long Beach
    Alan D. Waxman, M.D., PET scans, Los Angeles
  • Plaintiff's Technical Experts:
    Alex Balian, MBA, retail store custom and practice, West Hills
    Ted Kobayashi. P.E., accident reconstruction, Livermore
    Heather Xitco, MBA, CPA, economics, San Diego
  • Defendant's Technical Experts:
    Steven Molina, Ph.D., vocational rehabilitation, San Clemente
    Kenneth A. Solomon, Ph.D., P.E., accident reconstruction, biomechanics, Woodland Hills
    Paul Zimmer, forensic document examination, San Diego

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On March 20, 2008, the manager of a Starbucks in Vista mopped a spill on the floor. She set a cone 4-6 feet away from the mopped area. Plaintiff stepped into the area, slipped and hit his head on the tile floor. He was unconscious for up to 30 seconds.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Defendant did not mop all liquid standing on floor and did not clearly mark the area or attempt to keep customers away from the spill.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Floor was not wet or slippery. That plaintiff did not suffer permanent injuries.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Ongoing symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury including defective memory, lapses in concentration and judgment, emotional lability, sensitivity to light and sound, and fatigue.

  • Loss of Consortium.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $216,759
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $683,717
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $215,199
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: $1,123,677

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $1.8 million
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $100,000