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Chipotle failed to repair leaky roof, led to injury, plaintiff claimed








Palm Beach County


Palm Beach County Circuit Court, 15th

Injury Type(s):

head; head-concussion; neck-whiplash; neck-fusion, cervical;
neck-herniated disc (herniated disc at C4-5);
neck-herniated disc (herniated disc at C5-6);
neck-herniated disc (herniated disc at C6-7);

Case Type:

Premises Liability – Restaurant; Slips, Trips & Falls – Slip and Fall; Premises Liability – Dangerous Condition, Negligent Repair and/or Maintenance

Case Name:

Allison Judkins v. Chipotle Mexican Grill,
No. 50-2012-CA-15527


October 27, 2015



Allison Judkins (Female, 50 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Neil P. Anthony;
Steinger, Iscoe & Greene, P.A.;
West Palm Beach,
Allison Judkins ■ Michael Shiver;
Steinger, Iscoe & Greene, P.A.;
West Palm Beach,
Allison Judkins

Plaintiff Expert(s):

Albin Morariu; M.D.; Neurology; Delray Beach,
FL called by:
Neil P. Anthony, Michael Shiver ■ Craig Lichtblau; M.D.; Physical Medicine; Palm Beach,
FL called by:
Neil P. Anthony, Michael Shiver ■ Gerard D’Ariano; M.D.; Orthopedics; Lake Worth,
FL called by:
Neil P. Anthony, Michael Shiver ■ Mircea Morariu; M.D.; Radiology; Delray Beach,
FL called by:
Neil P. Anthony, Michael Shiver


Chipotle Mexican Grill

Defense Attorney(s):

Lee A. Kantor;
Hightower, Stratton, Wilhelm;
West Palm Beach,
Chipotle Mexican Grill ■ Daniel M. Novigrod;
Hightower, Stratton, Wilhelm;
West Palm Beach,
Chipotle Mexican Grill

Defendant Expert(s):

Santo BiFulco;
Physical Medicine;
FL called by:
Lee A. Kantor, Daniel M. Novigrod ■ Jordan Grabel;
West Palm Beach,
FL called by:
Lee A. Kantor, Daniel M. Novigrod ■ Gaetano Scuderi;
Orthopedic Surgery;
FL called by:
Lee A. Kantor, Daniel M. Novigrod ■ Michael Raskin;
FL called by:
Lee A. Kantor, Daniel M. Novigrod


Zurich for Chipotle Mexican Grill


Plaintiff Allison Judkins, then 50, a secretary, alleged that on June 15, 2012 she slipped and fell while ordering a meal at Chipotle Mexican Grill in West Palm Beach. Judkins claimed she injured her head and neck. Judkins sued Chipotle Mexican Grill for negligence. Judkins alleged Chipotle was negligent for failing to repair a roof leak which led to water intrusion, which pooled and accumulated on the concrete floor leading to the order station. Judkins’ counsel alleged Chipotle was on notice of the dangerous condition of the roof leak. Judkins alleged that in May 2012, the store manager noticed water on the floor in the area where customers are queued to place orders, and that the manager ran his foot across the floor, confirmed there was indeed a puddle and that the area was extremely slippery. Judkins’ counsel claimed the manager then mopped up the liquid, verified the area was dry, but the following day, the manager arrived to find an accumulation of water in the same area. Further, Judkins’ counsel alleged that it had rained the previous evening, and that the manager contacted the corporate chain of command expressing a safety concern for customers and requested repair as soon as possible. Judkins counsel claimed the manager continued to follow up with the corporate locations for weeks, noting that the window frame was rusting and the puddles were continuing. What’s more, Judkins counsel claimed the manager then placed a yellow "caution" sign near the window as a warning mechanism for customers in the order line. Judkins’ counsel alleged that the Chipotle’s corporate office failed to facilitate the needed repairs prior to her accident. On the day of the accident, she walked up to the order station and placed her order, and she then moved further left to view the various food toppings, slipped and fell backwards, landing flat on her back, striking her head on the floor, Judkins’ counsel claimed. Judkins’ counsel alleged that the manager said, "I knew something like this was going to happen," after she fell. Finally, Judkins’ counsel alleged that the accident could have been prevented had Chipotle followed proper safety protocols and kept the floors dry. Defense counsel for Chipotle denied any negligence and argued comparative negligence. The defense argued that Judkins was comparatively negligent for not looking where she was walking. Finally, Chipotle argued that there was a yellow "caution" sign on the floor which was prominently displayed.


Judkins was taken by ambulance to a local emergency room. She sustained a concussion and complained of pain in her neck. Judkins was given pain medication and discharged with instructions to follow up with an orthopedist. Judkins was ultimately diagnosed with disc herniations at C4-5, C5-6 and C6-7. She underwent a three-level cervical fusion at the C4 through C7 levels with interbody PEEK cages and screws implanted. Judkins also under went six months of physical therapy via twice weekly sessions. Judkins’ treating orthopedic surgeon opined that Judkins’ disc herniations were caused by the whiplash she suffered when falling and striking her head and back on the restaurant’s floor. Judkins claimed she continued to have pain and limitations performing activities of daily living. She claimed her activities with her son were curtailed and she was unable to take him to the zoo, Kennedy Space Center and Walt Disney World like she used to prior to the accident. Judkins sought to recover damages for past and future medicals; past and future loss of earnings capacity; and past and future pain and suffering. The defense’s medical experts opined that Judkins’ cervical injury was not caused by the subject accdient. They opined that she had a long, prior history of occipital headaches, a fall down the stairs at her home, one week before the accident at Chipotle. They also opined that Judkins had four follow-up doctor visits after the Chipotle fall with no complaints of neck pain, and a physical examination which revealed a supple neck.


The jury found there was 100 percent negligence on the part of Chipotle Mexican Grill that was a legal cause of injury to Allison Judkins. The jury determined that Judkins’ damages totaled $1,351,362.

Allison Judkins: $244,363 Personal Injury: Past Medical Cost; $430,191 Personal Injury: Future Medical Cost; $11,500 Personal Injury: Past Lost Earnings Capability; $15,308 Personal Injury: Future Lost Earnings Capability; $325,000 Personal Injury: Past Pain And Suffering; $325,000 Personal Injury: Future Pain And Suffering

Trial Information:


Lisa Small





Trial Length:


Trial Deliberations:


Editor’s Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s counsel. Defense counsel did not respond to the reporter’s phone calls.