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Verdict Goes Above and Beyond

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New York, NYMarie Wilson was a spry and fit 86-year-old who still enjoyed hiking—that is until she slipped and fell on a plastic drop cloth left laying on the floor of her Manhattan apartment during a renovation project in 2009.

The contractor blamed the building owners, the building owners blamed the contractor, and with no offer on the table to pay for Wilson's injuries, her lawyer Glenn Herman said there was no choice but to go to trial.

And in a made-in-Hollywood decision, the jury came back and awarded Wilson, the spunky senior, more than her lawyers had asked for. After a six-day trial, it took the jury just 40 minutes to return to the courtroom with its answer.

"Instead of $900,000 they gave her $1,050,000," says her attorney, veteran New York personal injury attorney Glenn Herman, from the Law Firm of Jonathan C. Reitner.

"The jury loved her," says Herman. "The defendants tried to say she didn't know how she fell and they really gave us a hard time."

The windows in Wilson's studio apartment were being replaced and the furniture in the apartment had been moved away from the walls. The foreman for the contracting company claimed Wilson had tripped over a rug that had been rolled up by building staff. However, Wilson herself testified that she had slipped on a drop cloth inside the apartment. Herman says this is "total vindication for a woman who was healthy and active before suffering harm at the hands of those entrusted to do their job well, and right."

As a result of the fall, Wilson needed hip replacement surgery and extensive physical rehabilitation.

"She is really amazing," adds Herman. "At 86, she went to physiotherapy and rehabbed herself. She went from walker to cane to not using a cane, and she has a 100-year-old sister and a 90-something-year-old sister."

"They really believed the client suffered and she will suffer," says Herman. "The jury gave her an eight-year life expectancy when the tables only gave her five."

It is possible that the defendants may appeal and so far Wilson has not received her $1.05 million.


Glenn Herman is an associate with the Law Firm of Jonathan C. Reitner located in Midtown Manhattan. His practice areas include various aspects of personal injury litigation, including motor vehicle accidents, product liability, medical malpractice, construction accidents, assault, civil rights violations and wrongful death. He has also represented clients in the entertainment industry.

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