Plaintiff with multiple prior injuries slips/falls on wet floor at hotel. $208K. Placer County.


After watching a meteor shower over mountain skies, a guest slips and falls on hotel lobby floor that was just mopped. This was not his first slip and fall.

The Case

  • Case Name: Joe Borowski v. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, et al.
  • Court and Case Number: Placer County Superior Court / SCV0034735
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Friday, January 06, 2017
  • Date Action was Filed: Monday, June 30, 2014
  • Type of Case: Slip and Fall
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Jeffrey Penney
  • Plaintiffs:
    Joe Borowski, 51, self-employed plastics fabricator.
  • Defendants:
    The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC
    Landcorp Management Services, LLC
    Joas Services, LLC
    Jasmine Torres
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $234,124.36 (total judgment)
  • Net Verdict or Award: $208,553 plus attorney fees and costs.
  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: Plaintiff was found to be 1% comparatively at fault.
  • Economic Damages:

    Past medical expenses: $83,553.41.

    Future medical expenses: $25,000

  • Non-Economic Damages:


  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 8 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 1 day.
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Plaintiff motioned for additur, attorney fees and costs of proof for defendants' denial of liability in Requests For Admissions.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Bissell Law Corporation by Todd S. Bissell, Folsom.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Harris & Yempuku by Victoria Yamamoto, Sacramento.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Kevin Hansen, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Roseville.

    Daniel Dunlevy, M.D., physical medicine, Citrus Heights. (Treating physician.)

    Vince Hoffart, D.C., chiropractic, Rocklin. (Treating chiropractor.)

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Peter Sfakianos, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Folsom.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):


  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):


Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On May 24, 2014 plaintiff  was a guest at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe in Truckee. He and his girlfriend were watching a meteor shower near the outside fire pit around 1:00 a.m. As they entered the hotel lobby and walked toward the elevator, plaintiff slipped on a wet floor that had just been mopped.

    Defendant Ritz-Carlton had subcontracted the night janitorial services to defendant Landcorp Management Services, LLC, an Arizona corporation. Landcorp subcontracted those services to defendant Joas Services, LLC, a small housekeeping company from Reno, NV.

    Defendant Jasmine Torres, the employee of Joas Services, had mopped the floor only minutes before plaintiff slipped. The incident was witnessed by Ritz-Carlton's security officer who was on patrol. He testified that there was a "wet floor" warning sign only a few feet away from where plaintiff slipped. He observed plaintiff hyper-extend his knee and transported plaintiff to the emergency room.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Plaintiff claimed soft-tissue back and neck injuries as well as an exacerbation of pre-existing knee symptoms, resulting in chiropractic and physical therapy treatment, and a total knee replacement performed by Dr. Hansen. Plaintiff denied seeing the "wet-floor" sign and contended that he was physically doing well from his pre-exisitng injuries at the time of this incident.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Plaintiff had six prior knee surgeries arising from a motorcycle accident as a teenager, a worker's compensation slip and fall 10 years later, and another slip and fall at a 7-11 store several years after that which resulted in litigation; also a second worker's compensation slip and fall at another job five years before the incident at the Ritz-Carlton.

    Defendant argued that plaintiff had been drinking alcohol prior to his slipping at the Ritz-Carlton, that he should have seen the "wet-floor" sign that was right in front of him and that his knee condition was degenerative and unrelated to the incident at the Ritz-Carlton. Defendant denied liability for this accident.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Soft-tissue back and neck injuries as well as an exacerbation of pre-existing knee symptoms.

    Dr. Hansen testified that because of plaintiff's age he would likely need the implant replaced at some point in his lifetime.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $83,553.41
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: Future back surgery.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: Plaintiff was self-employed and did not claim lost wages.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: None.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $300,000

Additional Notes

Plaintiff filed a motion for additur, attorney fees and costs of proof for defendants' refusal to admit liability in a Request for Admissions. The court denied the additur but granted the costs of proof motion, awarding plaintiff an additional $7,500 in fees and costs.

Per defense counsel:

Plaintiff asked the jury  for $2,000,000 at trial.