$1.8 Million - Jury Awards Zeldin $1.8 Million in slip and fall case.

The Legal Intelligencer Gillian Zeldin, M.D. vs. Crown Parking Corporation
The Legal Intelligencer

On March 3, 2003, 40-year-old Dr. Gillian Zeldin slipped and fell on ice at a parking lot owned and operated by the defendants at 215-17 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA. As a result of this fall, Dr. Zeldin suffered severe and permanent injuries to her left ankle requiring surgeries and resulting in unrelenting reflex sympathetic dystrophy. On the day of the incident, Dr. Zeldin parked her car at the defendant's lot at approximately 7:50 a.m. While exiting the parking lot in the direction of Broad Street, she slipped on a patch of ice consisting of "lumps, clumps, granules, and marbles." Expert testimony established that the defendants acted negligently when they failed to clear ice that had been on their property for a period of time, failed to recognize and remedy the defects and hazards, and abrogated their duty to properly maintain a parking lot where patrons regularly walked from their cars.

Immediately following the incident, Dr. Zeldin was treated at the Hahnemann University Hospital ER. X-rays revealed a trimalleolar fracture of the left ankle, and she had to undergo open reduction internal fixation surgery. The medial malleolus was not repaired at the time due to significant fracture blistering and skin changes over the area. Pain medications were prescribed and Dr Zeldin was discharged. She received outpatient physical therapy and nursing care one week after surgery. Dr. Zeldin returned to Hahnemann on March 14, 2003 for an additional surgery to repair the medial malleolus.

An EMG performed on June 24, 2003 revealed a left peroneal and tibial nerve injury. On July 3, 2003 Dr. Zeldin consulted with neurologist Robert J. Schwartzman, M.D. for severe pain in the left lower extremity, persisting since the time of the fracture and severe enough to prevent her from standing on her heels or toes. She also suffered from color change and a cold sensation in the foot. Dr. Schwartzman diagnosed her with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) of the left lower extremity, which over time began to spread.

Dr. Zeldin is married and has three young daughters, ages two, six, and nine. At the time of the incident, she was employed by Hahnemann University Hospital as Chief of Hepatology and Medical Director of Liver Transplantation. Following the incident, it became extremely difficult for her to keep up with the physical demands of the job. She was not able to perform endoscopic procedures, which require standing, and had to get residents to complete the procedures under her supervision. Dr. Zeldin also had trouble walking during rounds or running patients' rooms in emergency situation. As a result, she resigned from her active clinical practice and moved with her family to northwestern New Jersey, where she works at Novartis in a non-clinical position. Although she continues to work forty hours per week, the job has fewer physical demands with regards to walking and standing. Dr. Zeldin sits at a desk for large parts of the day, attends meetings, and does some travel.

Emotionally, Dr. Zeldin developed significant depression as a result of her pain and limitations. While the depression is now under control, it continues to require medication. Overall, her prognosis is poor due to the severity of the injury and the resulting severe and permanent post-traumatic arthritis, left peroneal and left tibial nerve damage, and reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), characterized by pain and swelling. As a result, she now suffers from extremely significant and constant pain and lack of mobility in the foot and ankle. She has not been pain-free since the injury occurred and remains at risk for the continued spread of RSD.

Result: $1.8 Million award.

Plaintiff's Attorney:
Frederic S. Eisenberg of Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.