City to appeal award in lawsuit over injury
A woman who fell in Waikiki in 2002 still cannot walk unaided
The city says it will appeal a $3.6 million state jury award to a woman who was injured when she tripped on an uneven area of a tiled Waikiki sidewalk that was missing 14 tiles.
The jury awarded Tammie M. Stopp $2.6 million in special damages for past and future medical expenses and lost wages and $1 million in general damages for pain and suffering Monday after just four hours of deliberation, said Michael Green, Stopp's lawyer.
"We are clearly disappointed by the jury's verdict, in a trip and fall case," the city Department of Corporation Counsel said yesterday.
Stopp, 49, from California, was walking along Kalakaua Avenue near Lewers Street Oct. 15, 2002, when she moved to avoid a bicyclist, stepped onto an untiled section of sidewalk and fell. Stopp broke a bone above her small toe on her left foot, Green said.
The city said the toe healed by June 2003.
But Green said Stopp also suffered ligament and nerve damage when her foot was caught under her 215-pound frame. He said Stopp has already had 12 surgeries and will require at least two more but will never be able to walk unassisted. She gets around using a cane, walker or wheelchair, he said.
Green said Stopp was unable to return to her job.
An expert witness for the city testified that Stopp's lingering injuries were caused by two doctors on the mainland who performed the surgeries, Green said. However, the jury was instructed that even if that is the case, the city is still responsible because medical malpractice is a foreseeable consequence of its negligence. And besides, Green said, Stopp believes the surgeries have been good for her, not bad.