In this case, we represented a man that lived in a garden apartment complex in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. One Saturday morning, he walked down a common stairway in the building to go to the laundry room. As he was walking down the stairs, the stairs collapsed, and he struck his head on the wall at the bottom of the stairs. We sued the apartment complex owners and managers claiming that they maintained the property negligently which allowed the stairway to collapse.
The owners said they had no way of knowing that the stairway would collapse. They claimed that the stairway seemed perfectly safe, had been there for decades and there were no warnings that the stairway would collapse.
We were able to look at the evidence of water infiltration and mold growth in this part of the building and show that over time, due to poor storm water management of the property by the owners, the water was seeping into the stairway. This water seepage and infiltration weakened the stairway and caused the stairway to collapse.
It was a very challenging case. We did a lot of investigatory work and conducted numerous site inspections to figure out both how and why these stairs collapsed and what these owners should have done to prevent our client from falling down the stairs. We went to a binding arbitration and obtained a $685,000 award for our client, which was a very satisfactory outcome.
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