Premise Liability





Attorneys:  Robert H. Pedroli, Jr.

Parties:  Elderly female customer vs. Large area public entertainment business

 Type of Claim:  This was a dangerous condition on premises claim involving the presence of wheelchair ramps that were built outside of the requirements of the St. Louis County building codes in effect at the time of construction.  These codes are included in the ADA and the IBC.  These codes were adopted by St. Louis County as the law.  The wheelchair flares must be built in a 10:1 slope ratio.  That is a ten inch run for every one inch rise.  The ramp went from the parking lot to the sidewalk area used by patrons on their way to the entrance.  As the area was designed, patrons who were not disabled, would traverse across the side flares perpendicularly.  This caused the plaintiff to step onto the flare which was about double the legal slope.  The ramp was not painted so as to create visual contrast.

Defendant claimed the wheelchair ramps were within a different code and that the flares were safe.  The incident was captured on video tape some distance from the accident but the tape showed that the accident occurred at the ramp flare.

Damages:  Plaintiff sustained a fractured ankle.  There was no surgical intervention.  The amount paid to satisfy the medical bills was approximately $1,700.00.  There were no lost wages.  The plaintiff claimed ongoing pain and stiffness and that she needed assistance walking with a cane.

Comments:  We subpoenaed the St. Louis County inspector and records which established that the business never submitted plans for this particular wheelchair ramp for approval, and the inspector passed the area upon cursory inspection.

The ramp has not been altered to date and the dangerous condition still exists.  Apparently the business would rather chance injury to patron rather than correct the problem.