$350K Recovered for Injured Food Truck Owner
Ms. Arauz, who is 65, and her husband own and operate a food truck in Miami. Truckers, mechanics and other workers flock to the Food Truck for lunch. Ms. Arauz has always been the cook, making Nicaraguan specialties from her homeland.
In 2018, after leaving a doctor appointment, Ms. Arauz was walking around the building on the sidewalk when she slipped on wet slime coming from the very building she had just left. She fell hard, breaking her wrist in two critical places. Complex surgery was required at the University of Miami. Despite the surgery, Ms. Arauz’s hand does not function as before. Needing two hands to prepare and cook meals, she was no longer able to fully contribute to the family business.
The slime emanated from a leaky “back flow preventer” – a set of pipes you often see on the side of buildings, often enclosed by a cage. Its function is to keep water in the building from flowing back into the County water system and contaminating it. It is part of the building, and it is the building owner’s responsibility to maintain it.
The medical center, which owns the building, original denied the claim, PWD sued the medical center. PWD went to work subpoenaing witnesses and documents. Multiple employee depositions revealed that the leak had been going on for well over a year, with slime and algae building up on the sidewalk as the steady drip-drip created a wet area across the sidewalk. Under County Health rules, the medical center had called out a service company for to annually certify that the system was not contaminating County Water. Even though the no water was flowing back into the county system, the service company advised how it could fix the leak and re-direct any discharge away from the sidewalk and even specifically warned the center that someone could otherwise slip on the sidewalk. But the medical center ignored that advice until Ms. Arauz fell.
With trial looming, the medical center finally agreed to pay Ms. Arauz $350K.
Now, she and her husband will have the resources to hire help and train a cook. The family business is now poised to grow once again.
PWD is honored to have represented Ms. Arauz and proud that we were able to help Ms. Arauz not only recover for her injuries, but that we helped save a family business.