SUNRISE, FLA. (WSVN) - A Broward County jury delivered a verdict on Tuesday, ordering the franchisee of a local IHOP restaurant to pay $8,299,916.53 to a woman for injuries sustained in a fall that occurred in 2021.
According to a news release from Morgan & Morgan, on June 9, 2021, Melissa Melvin, 47, was leaving the IHOP located at 2454 North University Drive in Sunrise, when she slipped and fell on a deteriorated step outside the exit. The step, measuring only six inches deep, violated building codes mandating a minimum depth of 10 inches.
The fall resulted in a severe trimalleolar ankle fracture, affecting all three ankle bones – the distal fibula (lateral malleolus) and the medial and posterior malleolus. Attorneys for Melvin said she endured months of painful recovery, spending several weeks in a wheelchair and six months of inability to climb stairs. Additionally, they said Melvin has been unable to drive or return to work due to persistent pain and swelling, relying on a cane for mobility despite her age.
“What was taken from Ms. Melvin, through no fault of her own, is truly invaluable,” said Morgan & Morgan attorney Carissa Peebles. “She suffered one of the worst possible types of ankle fractures, which will limit her ability to walk for the rest of her life. Everything Ms. Melvin does – from simple pleasures like walking on the beach, to passions like playing basketball with her two young sons – has been negatively impacted by IHOP’s inexcusable negligence.”
Morgan & Morgan attorneys rejected a $100,000 settlement offer and pursued the case through trial, securing over $8.2 million in compensation for their client. Sunshine Restaurant Merger Sub, LLC, the IHOP franchisee, contested liability during the trial, seeking to avoid any compensation for Melvin’s debilitating injuries.
“We’re pleased the jury paid attention to the facts when this massive corporation tried to deflect blame onto our client, and granted her some measure of relief for her medical bills and the ways in which her life has been permanently altered,” said Peebles.
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