Date 6.25.2014

Jury Decides On Danger In The Dark

Movie Theater Found Liable for Injuries Suffered by Local Woman

“Howard Coker, Charles Sorenson and their paralegal Leigh Philips were so wonderfully professional and thorough in the handling of my case. They went above and beyond the call of duty on my behalf. I was very satisfied with the jury’s verdict and, as importantly, I believe it put Regal Theatres on notice to fix their lighting and other safety code violations. Hopefully, this will prevent someone else from getting hurt by the simple act of going to the movies.” ……..Angie Vazquez

In January of 2006 Angie Vazquez and her then-fiancé, Chuck Kees, were excited about the opening of the film “King Kong.” The couple visited Jacksonville’s Regal Beach Theater to view the remake of the famous 1933 classic. They were unaware that the evening would cost them significantly more than the price of tickets and popcorn.

During the three-hour movie, Angie started down the stairs to use the restroom. Her vision and depth perception were impaired by extreme low light and uneven stadium-style steps. She tripped and fell, breaking both bones in her left wrist. This serious injury forced her to undergo surgery and wear a cumbersome external fixator for several months, including during her own wedding. A professional with a career that requires a certain amount of strength and dexterity, Angie found that she had lost some of her previous functionality. She comments: “I can’t physically do everything I used to – I have to ask my colleagues for help.”

The theater where Angie was injured is part of Regal Cinemas, Inc. — the largest chain of movie houses in the country. After she found the corporation non-responsive to the issues and expenses related to her accident, Angie brought her case to our firm. Partners Charles Sorenson and Howard Coker, working with firm Investigator Walt Brozowski and Paralegal Leigh Phillips, launched an investigation into the hazardous conditions at that cinema, as well as the safety codes that govern theater operations. It became clear that the cinema’s inadequate, out-of-code aisle illumination was a breach of its duty to maintain safe premises for patrons. In short, leaving one’s seat during a movie was risky business! In August, a jury agreed with our firm’s findings, awarding Angie Vazquez $233,000.

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