PRESTONSBURG - a dramatic personal injury showdown between some of the areas most notable trial lawyers, set here next week in the courtroom of Judge Johnny Ray Harris, Floyd County's newest trial judge, will not take place as the parties have settled.
Linda Johnson – a career nurse until her retirement five years ago
– alleged in her complaint filed on August 1, 2008, that on September
3, 2007, while “lawfully on the premises” of Dollar General
Store at Bypro where she had gone to
shop that, while she was shopping, she “slipped and fell on a slippery foreign substance” on the floor and that the defendant store was negligent in its care of the store.
Johnson was alone. No eye witnesses to the event were found and the store had no video of the fall. However, store employees acknowledged that Johnson was found on the floor on a slick, soapy spot. “I did not know I was hurt that bad at first,” Johnson said. “Mostly, I was just embarrassed. My foot was cut and cracked open.”
Johnson further alleged that the fall, superimposed upon her diabetic condition, caused a subsequent foot infection and later amputation and other treatment. “It was about two days after the fall that the trouble started. I have had a lot to live through since then,” Johnson said. “The fall caused a wound on my right foot which got infected and the infection caused three hospital stays for amputations.” Johnson underwent a great toe surgical removal followed by amputation of her right foot and eventually additional amputation of her right leg below the knee. “Linda’s medical bills approached $300,000,” Johnson’s attorney said. Johnson is represented by Ashley Tackett Laferty and John Kirk of Kirk Law Firm.
Johnson’s treating doctor, William Gaunt of Pikeville, testified by deposition that the fall “probably” caused a succession of events that made the amputations necessary.
The Defendant store defended the lawsuit on a number of grounds. The slick liquid soap on the floor, was purposely put there by a child who was about the store and Johnson’s fall occurred shortly after that, the defendant claimed, denying any negligence. The fall did not cause the later amputations, the defendant argued, stating that the amputations were caused by Johnson’s precarious health.
“Linda is a special person who has been through a lot,” Ashley Tackett Laferty said. “I am proud to have been of help to her.” Terms of the settlement are not available. “Out of consideration of Linda’s privacy and pursuant to our agreement with the defendant I cannot comment on the terms of settlement,” John Kirk said. “I will say that the right and just thing was done.”