The City of Ocala appealed a jury verdict awarding $30,000 to Cathleen Donner for pain and suffering and medical expenses after she tripped and fell on uneven slabs of sidewalk in downtown Ocala. Donner suffered a fractured nose, broken teeth and knee injuries that later required surgery as a result of the fall. When the jury ruled in her favor in March, she thought her case against the City of Ocala was settled.
Ocala City Attorney Pat Gilligan argued that the slabs of concrete on which Donner tripped had a height differential of about a quarter of an inch. The Florida Building Code suggests that height differences of more than a quarter of an inch along a sidewalk could be a trip hazard. The City filed an appeal because it believes errors were made during the trial.
Six jurors listened to the facts and evidence in the case, and found that the City was responsible for injuries incurred by Mrs. Donner. In the past five years, more than 746 liability claims have been filed against the city, which cost Ocala roughly $495,000.