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A $650,000 settlement has been reached in a case brought by a Southwest Philadelphia man who broke his elbow after allegedly slipping on a wet floor while breakdancing in a Broad Street banquet hall. “To the best of our knowledge, there is no caselaw on breakdancing” in the slip-and-fall context, said Mark Richter of Jeffrey R. Lessin & Associates in Philadelphia, who represented the plaintiff in Williams v. Penn Jersey Crown Leasing Corp. According to Richter, attorneys representing the Broad Street Diner had made an offer of $100,000 not long before the case settled. The defense in Williams was headed up by attorneys from Rabenold Koestel Scheidt in Wyomissing. A call to the firm seeking comment was not immediately returned. According to court papers, the accident occurred on Halloween night 2003. At the time, according to Richter, father-of-three Shawne Williams was a 31-year-old working as a stevedore at a local port. Williams’ family had organized a Halloween party held in the basement banquet room (known as the “Crystal Ball Room”) of the Broad Street Diner, which is located at Broad and Ellsworth streets in South Philadelphia. Williams claimed in court papers that his fall was caused by the watery leftovers of a recent mopping of the banquet room’s floor. Williams said that the fracture of a bone in his right elbow led to permanent nerve damage; Richter said doctors told Williams that as a result of his injuries, he would only be able to perform sedentary work in the future. According to court papers, Williams’ demand in the case was for $1 million – the full limits of the diner’s insurance policy. The defense initially responded by offering Williams $5,000 to settle, court papers indicate. Richter said that was eventually upped to $100,000. Defense attorneys noted in court papers that there was no proof there had been water on the floor at the time of Williams’ fall. Even if there had been, they continued, Williams had caused his own injuries by engaging in dangerous behavior – breakdancing. The defense further suggested that Williams’ obesity may have played a role in the accident. Richter, who handled the case with partner Jeffrey Lessin, said the settlement was the result of a three-hour mid-July meeting between the parties that was overseen by Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Victor J. DiNubile Jr. Trial proceedings in Williams had been expected to begin just a couple days after the date of the settlement, Richter said.

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