In 2016, Dora is proof that slumlords still exist and still take advantage of innocent people.
Dora had lived at her apartment complex for over 10 years. She'd developed a tight-knit community of friends and family, despite the lack of upkeep at the complex, owned and controlled by Amaz Property Management. There had been maintenance problems in the past, but Amaz hadn't fixed the inch-and-a-half-deep puddle of water in the laundry room, despite knowing about it for months. Multiple complaints had been made to the property manager about it.
Trouble in the laundry room
One morning on her way to work, Dora stopped by the laundry room to wash some clothes. She slipped in the puddle, lost her balance, and hit her head on a washing machine. She lost consciousness.
A neighbor found her and carried her back to her apartment. She made her way to the leasing office later that day to report the incident. The leasing office personnel refused to allow her to fill out an incident report. She was in so much pain she could not even return to the laundry room to get her laundry basket full of clothes. Her roommate had to do that for her. She spent the next week recovering on the couch and then began searching for help. She was referred to our firm by Payne & Payne. She met with us and hired us to help her. Curtis began working on her case and investigated the property management company in charge of the complex.
Curtis found that one of the Amaz properties in Dallas was discovered to have major structural problems and long-term reports of standing water that were never fixed. With this information and more evidence that Amaz Property Management is nothing short of a slumlord, Curtis filed an injury claim on Dora's behalf. While Curtis was investigating Amaz, Dora sought medical treatment. She hadn't reported the incident that first week, hoping her back pain would get better with rest and time. It didn't.
Pain management and physical therapy were not working
She went to physical therapy, hoping that would help. Back in 1995, she'd hurt her back badly, requiring her to have a back surgery. She was afraid this fall had undone everything her 1995 surgery had fixed. Physical therapy wasn't helping, so she was sent to a pain management specialist, who had her get an MRI. The MRI showed discs in her spine had herniated, causing her pain. The pain management specialist recommended she get injections, and if they ultimately didn't help, have another surgery on her spine. Nothing was helping. Dora couldn't keep her job as a housekeeper because of the pain. It took a huge toll on her emotionally, physically, and financially. Not only couldn't she work anymore, she'd had to give up her hobbies and passions.
In 2014, Dora wound up having her back operated on again. The surgery was successful.
Amaz's defense attorneys initially argued that she was responsible for her own injuries because she'd failed to "exercise that degree of ordinary care that a person in the same or similar circumstances would have undertaken." We argued that she had little other choice but to do her laundry in the facilities provided to her. At mediation, the defense attorneys argued that the water was an "open and obvious danger." Kenneth researched that issue and found case law that said if a company still has control over the property (which Amaz did), then the open and obvious danger defense can't apply. The case settled that day for $557,000.