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    A Case History: Refutation of Alleged Floor Maintenance Malpractice by the Application of Forensic Biomechanics

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    This paper is based upon the author's liability expert report prepared for the defendant's attorney who represented a general maintenance contractor. The author was retained to evaluate the technical aspects and merits of the case, and to render an opinion, which would meet the criteria of the Supreme Court's “Daubert” decision.

    The complaint charged that the subject (unwittnessed) slip and fall accident was the result of negligent floor maintenance in an office building where the plaintiff was employed. And more specifically, it was due to the defendant's negligent spraying of furniture polish onto a carpeted floor, the accident situs.

    A brief review of the circumstances surrounding the accident is presented, followed by: (a) select portions of the plaintiffs “remarkable” (medical terminology for significant and relevant) prior and post accident medical history; (b) the more salient aspects of the plaintiff's deposition testimony and that of the defendant's maintenance supervisor; (c) an inspection of the accident site; (d) coefficient of friction measurements of the subject carpet (before and after application of the plaintiff identified furniture polish) by two independent test laboratories retained by both the defendant and plaintiff; (e) technical considerations (the biomechanics of walking mishaps, the pathophysiologic consequences of injuries and surgeries, et al); and (f) the author's opinion, to wit, that the plaintiffs detailed description of the alleged incident was exquisitely inconsistent with the biomechanics of a slip and fall accident. But instead, it is suggested that the accident was actually the result of a stumble, the sequela of the plaintiffs prior chronic locomotor deficiencies.


    slip resistance, coefficient of friction, contaminants, James Machine, horizontal dynamometer pull meter, carpeting, biomechanics

    Author Information:

    Sacher, A
    President, UPI-Universal Petrochemicals, Inc., Maplewood, NJ

    Committee/Subcommittee: D21.06

    DOI: 10.1520/STP12547S