Lawyer Joseph Wilson said he knew he faced an uphill climb in suing on behalf of a woman who struck her head on the ladder of a bucket-truck lift that had been lowered across a sidewalk, partially blocking it.

The ladder the woman walked into was bright orange, and she had walked past the truck three times prior to the accident. But most damning was video footage showing the woman engrossed in her cellphone as she struck the ladder and collapsed onto the concrete.

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