Coffee Shop Customer Injured by Falling Awning

    Premises Liability Expert WitnessThis case takes place in Washington and involves a young woman who suffered injuries at an outdoor cafe. The cafe had been outfitted with motorized awnings made by a leading shade and awning manufacturer. The shades had been installed and operated with no issues for several years at this particular location. This specific shade model was also used in many other restaurants and shops across the country and had a known reputation for safety and reliability. On this specific occasion one of the shades, which had been locked in the “extended” position at the time, suddenly fell on the young woman, causing a range of injuries including lacerations and broken bones. The woman will require extensive treatment and ongoing medical care as a result of the accident.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Do you have extensive experience in premises maintenance?
    • 2. Are you familiar with the process of inspecting shades and other areas of restaurant to make sure things are well maintained?
    • 3. Please explain your experience working on similar cases?

    Expert Witness Response E-019310

    I have extensive experience with performing full store inspections, and checking all equipment for safety and proper operations. I have developed maintenance programs, and have both implemented and managed those programs. This process includes but is not limited to inspecting sign off sheets, determining frequency of visits, and evaluating repair history to determine frequency of maintenance. In determining how these shades should have been maintained, I would want to know what the quoted life span is according to the manufacturer. I would also want to see the repair history on this item at the store level and I would want to see the design specifications on the product and the maintenance instructions offered by the manufacturer. It’s also important to consider how often these shades are used/handled. I would be happy to review this case.

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