Illinois Woman Awarded $4.5 Million for Injury at Wells Fargo
Amy Skinger, 42, was entering a Wells Fargo mortgage retail office on Fox Valley Road in Aurora, Illinois, back on May 14, 2012, when she incurred an unexpected injury. A metal door closer unit suddenly became detached, swung down and hit her in the head. The blow knocked her to her knees, and she filed a lawsuit soon after, recently receiving a $4.5 million judgment.
The payout marks the largest ever for a personal injury case in DuPage County. It was awarded after two hours of deliberation by a six man, five woman jury, following a two-week trial under County Judge Kenneth Popejoy. The jury awarded $1.25 million for the woman’s disability, $1.25 million for pain and suffering, $1 million for emotional distress and over half a million for her medical bills. Wells Fargo was ultimately found to be 80 percent at fault for being responsible for maintenance of the door, according to its lease terms, but failing to inspect it as it should, and the building’s owner, Cannella NY Square, LLC, 20 percent at fault for also failing to discover the faulty unit prior to it causing injury.
“Amy walked through the entry way of the retail mortgage establishment through the only entrance provided by the defendants, and that entrance was completely unsafe,” according to her attorney Bradley Cosgrove of Clifford Law Offices, who represented the woman. “It was not inspected for years and due to the lack of maintenance, this preventable tragedy forever changed her life.” A release went on to say that “Skinger required both a posterior and anterior cervical fusion at the C3-C4 and C4-C5 levels of her neck and an intrathecal pain pump following the incident. She had a medical history that included a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 2009 and a long-standing degenerative disease in her neck.”
Spondylosis, according to Mayo Clinic, is an age-related wear and tear affecting the spinal disks in the neck. Usually, those inflicted will not experience any symptoms, but sometimes sufferers experience pain or muscle spasms, as well as more common ailments, including headaches, a sensation of pins and needles, or stiffness. Skinger was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis several years prior to the incident in addition to the degenerative disease in her neck. Her spondylosis, which was only made worse by the impact, requiring her to seek medical attention for pain as well as the procedures outlined in the release.
The attorneys indicated that one week prior to trial, the defendants had offered to settle the lawsuit for $125,000. But, the plaintiff refused and the trial went on as scheduled.
“We are disappointed with the jury’s finding and are reviewing all of our legal options,” Wells Fargo spokesman Steve Carlson said.
Cosgrove, of course, saw things differently. “We are satisfied that the jury followed the law and understood the issues so that justice was served. This verdict will provide necessary medical care to ensure that Amy can obtain lifelong treatment,” the attorney stated.