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$1,000,000.00 Settlement for Slip & Fall at the Orange Park Mall — Michael Sharrit

For Willie Tookes, an afternoon rain shower and leaky skylight turned out to be “the perfect storm.” In June 2003, Mr. Tookes was shopping at the Orange Park Mall while visiting from out of town. Carrying his shopping bags through the common area, he had no warning of the water hazard he was about to encounter, or how it would ultimately change his life.

Mall personnel and management had long known of a leak in the overhead skylight system which allowed water to penetrate and collect on the tile floor below during periods of rain. The condition knowingly remained in disrepair for more than a year leading up to Mr. Tookes’ injury. When Mr. Tookes unsus­pect­ingly stepped in the water, he might have just as well stepped on a sheet of ice.

Slip and Fall SharritMr. Tookes took a hard fall, injuring his back. After being released from emergency care, he returned to his home in Rochester, N.Y., to follow up with his family physician. Over the next several days, his back pain became relentless, and he developed burning and numbness in his legs. He came under the care of a neuro­surgeon, and was diagnosed with a herniated disc and severe nerve injury. At that point, Mr. Tookes began a four year medical battle to overcome what had become an incapac­i­tating condition. He underwent three major surgeries in an effort to achieve meaningful relief. Despite having a series of metal rods and screws inserted into his spine, Mr. Tookes continues to live with ongoing pain and disability.

Mr. Tookes’ injuries have been accom­panied by profound lifestyle changes. He had been a dedicated employee of the Eastman-Kodak Company for more than 30 years. Despite an ambitious physical rehabil­i­tation program, at 55 years of age and in otherwise good health, Mr. Tookes was forced to leave a job he loved. His passions for exercise and physical activity have also been deeply impacted, and he has been forced to abandon his daily five mile walks.

Despite his ordeal, Mr. Tookes has consis­tently managed to maintain a positive and productive outlook. After three years of litigation, he is deter­mined to move on with his life and make the best of his situation. Recent legal negoti­a­tions have resulted in a $1 million settlement. The settlement helps to replace lost income, and continue an aggressive and costly pain management rehabil­i­tation program. The financial recovery could not have come at a better time or gone to a more deserving person. Like so many others we have had the privilege to represent at Terrell Hogan, Willie Tookes has demon­strated extra­or­dinary courage and spirit in the face of adversity.

Willie Tookes was repre­sented by Terrell Hogan attorney Michael Sharrit