On June 27, 2018, Phyllis Streit injured her shoulder when she tripped over partially obstructed chicken wire connected to a downed fence while walking to work from her apartment complex in Lake Katrine in Ulster County.

Ms. Streit, then 61 years old, was attempting to climb over a broken section of fence in a grassy area behind the complex’s parking lot when her foot became caught and she fell. She sued the apartment complex owner claiming that the premises was unreasonably dangerous. The jurors agreed but they apportioned fault 70% to the defendant and 30% to the plaintiff.

The jury then assessed pain and suffering damages in the sum of $750,000 ($100,000 past – three years, $650,000 future – 25 years).

In Streit v. Katrine Apts. Assoc., Inc., (3d Dept. 2023), the appellate court affirmed both the liability and damages verdicts.

Here are the injury details:

  • fractured proximal humerus requiring open reduction internal fixation surgery with 10 screws
  • reverse shoulder arthroplasty
  • continuing and permanent pain, significant limitations of range of motion and extensive limitations as to many aspects of daily living (the injury is to plaintiff’s dominant arm)

Inside Information:

  • Plaintiff sustained an injury to her same shoulder as a result of a fall six months before the present matter but she had not sustained any fractures and did not undergo surgery and claimed she was asymptomatic shortly thereafter
  • In his summation, plaintiff’s counsel conceded that she was negligent but argued that defendant was much more at fault.