Partners John Nunnally and Ed Coleman obtained a complete defense verdict in a federal jury trial held in the Western District of North Carolina. The case involved the delivery of frozen pizza dough, sauce, and other products to a well-known pizza restaurant chain by the defendant logistics company. The product was delivered during nonbusiness hours before the plaintiff, a restaurant employee, arrived to open the store. The plaintiff claimed that frozen boxes had been improperly stacked during delivery, causing them to immediately fall on her when she opened the freezer door that morning. No witnesses were present when the plaintiff claimed this incident occurred.
The plaintiff settled her worker’s compensation claim and then pursued a negligence action against the defendant. She alleged numerous injuries but focused on a right ankle injury at trial. She claimed that two surgeries to repair a torn tendon in her right ankle were related to the incident and sued for damages. The defendant’s delivery driver was an extremely effective witness and was able to describe to the jury his delivery methods and how the boxes were properly stacked.
The plaintiff testified at trial and during her cross-examination, the defense focused on her extensive medical history of prior injuries and chronic pain, her gaps in treatment, and her non-compliance with the treating providers’ instructions. The non-compliance was a significant factor in the need for the second surgery.
At trial, the Plaintiff asked the jury to award $500,000 for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and introduced evidence as to the worker’s compensation lien amount that would have to be repaid from any judgment. The jury found no negligence and returned a defense verdict.