2013 Premise Liability Case in the City of St. Louis, Missouri

2013 Premise Liability Case in the City of St. Louis, Missouri

Client v. Laclede’s Landing Commercial Building Owner
Attorney: Daniel J. Gauthier & Robert H. Pedroli, Jr.


The edge is cut out to fit around gutter
creating a stress riser weak spot.

Type of Claim:  Client from Mid-Western state attending bachelor party with his friends on Laclede’s Landing.  Client was walking along brick paver sidewalk which was immediately adjacent to a Plexiglas skylight.  The skylight covered a 20 foot deep hole into the basement of the building.  The skylight had once been barricaded on two sides with a rail and landscaping bushes but these were removed some time ago.   The skylight was never cleaned and appeared so filthy that it appeared to be of metal construction capable of supporting weight.  There were various footprints from people traversing the area over the years.  The skylight gave way in a weak area where the Plexiglas was cut for a gutter to pass through.  The incident happened at night causing the skylight to appear more deceiving.  Our expert testified about the appearance and the weakness of the structure which was never build to handle human traffic.

Defendant claimed that alcohol had a roll in the incident.  Defendant went so far to hire an expert physician who testified that plaintiff’s blood alcohol prevented him from exercising care for himself, and anyone who walked on this skylight was reckless. This defense backfired.  Alcohol was served in numerous locations within two blocks of the skylight including several within the subject building.  The owner of the building admitted he had walked on the skylight sober on an occasion some time ago, and he didn’t fancy himself reckless.  There was evidence of numerous foot prints on the skylight.  The skylight failed as plaintiff walked on the weakest point many years after it was installed in an old wooden frame.  The owner admitted that the entire area of Laclede’s Landing is know for bar establishments.  Plaintiff was not driving and had hotel arrangements within walking distance of the incident.

Damages:  Plaintiff was unable to work for over a year, but is currently employable.  He sustained the following injuries:

  1. Right Calcaneus Fracture;


    Appearance of the skylight the
    day after the incident.

  2. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in foot;
  3. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The medical bills totaled over $67,000.00.  Plaintiff was discharged from the military due to his disability.

Settlement:  $1,000,000.00 at mediation which occurred just prior to the scheduled trial date and after all expert depositions were completed. We alleged that the defendant violated various St. Louis City Codes and laws by virtue of the dangerous condition.   See our blog on skylights.