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Fred Mitchell v. Marriott International Inc. and KC Downtown Hotel Group

Type of Action:Personal Injury – Trip Hazard

Injuries Alleged:Stubbed toe resulting in complex regional pain syndrome

Name of Case:Fred Mitchell v. Marriott International Inc. and KC Downtown Hotel Group, d/b/a Kansas City Marriott Downtown Hotel

Court:Jackson County, Missouri

Case No.:0716-CV18932

Name of Judge:The Honorable Judge John Torrence

Special Damages:$96,621.60

Settlement Amount:$450,000.00

Date of SettlementAugust 2008

Plaintiffs’ Experts:Dr. Howard Aks, Pain Management Specialist and Vernon Reed, Architect

Defendant’s Experts:Not disclosed

Attorneys for Plaintiffs:Scott Shachtman and Sylvester James, Jr. with the Sly James Firm in Kansas City, Missouri and John Morgan with Denney, Morgan, Rather & Gilbert in Lexington, Kentucky

Attorneys for Defendants:Barry Somlyo with Tyrl & Bogdan

Description of the case:On October 2, 2006, Fred Mitchell arrived in Kansas City for a religious conference planning meeting at the Kansas City Downtown Marriott Hotel. As Mr. Mitchell prepared for bed, he stubbed his big toe on a floor-mounted door stop in front of the sliding glass closet doors. Mr. Mitchell’s toe immediately swelled up and started to bleed. He was taken to North Kansas City Hospital where he was provided with antibiotics and told that he suffered a cut to his big toe.

After returning to his home in Kentucky, Mr. Mitchell continued to suffer pain in his toe, which radiated up his foot, leg and into his lower back. After seeing a podiatrist and then a pain management specialist, Fred Mitchell was ultimately diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome. Mr. Mitchell underwent four epidural injections to combat the pain that he was suffering and later had a spinal stimulator implanted in his back.

Discovery disclosed that at least two prior patrons of the hotel had been injured by the same type of doorstops. Despite this knowledge, hotel management had failed to remedy the problem by the time Mr. Mitchell was injured.

Plaintiff’s expert architect, Vernon Reed, testified in the case that the door stop posed a danger to the Marriott Hotel’s customers and employees and that it should be removed. He further testified that, for a couple of dollars, the Marriott Hotel could have simply used a door stopper that was attached to the hinges of the door, which would have prevented these types of injuries from occurring.