Woman's trip, fall suit against McDonald's at trial in Rudolf's court

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Apr 24, 2019

A woman’s lawsuit alleging she tripped and fell on loose tile at McDonalds is at trial in St. Clair County Circuit Judge Heinz Rudolf’s courtroom.

The trial began Monday.

Plaintiff Shanai McLorn is represented by Wendler Law PC in Edwardsville.

Defendant McDonald’s Corporation is represented by Unsell, Schattnik & Phillips PC in Wood River.

Defendant McDonald’s of Metro St. Louis is represented by Amy Simkins of St. Louis.

McLorn filed her complaint against McDonald’s on July 16, 2015. She alleges she was at the defendants’ franchise in Washington County on Feb. 22, 2014, when she allegedly lost her balance while walking on the tile floor and fell. She claims the tile “had been loose for a considerable period of time.”

McLorn alleges the restaurant failed to maintain the floor in a safe condition, place a sign or other warning in the area to alert patrons and failed to barricade the dangerous zone.

She seeks damages in excess of $50,000.

McDonald’s Corporation previously sought to transfer the case to Washington County.

The defendant agreed that venue was “theoretically proper” in St. Clair County, but argued that Washington County would better serve the parties’ convenience.

“Although deference to the plaintiff’s choice of forum is substantial, it is not dispositive. St. Clair County is plaintiff’s home forum and therefore presumed to be convenient to plaintiff, but this factor is not determinative given that the site of the occurrence is in a neighboring county and that plaintiffs’ residence does not bear a substantial relation to the litigation,” the motion stated.

The defendant also argued that “the interest in deciding localized controversies locally as a factor overwhelmingly favors transfer of this cause to Washington County."

“Obviously Washington County would have a greater interest in ensuring the safety of patrons who claim to have been injured at a business located within the county than would St. Clair County for a business not within its borders,” the motion stated.

Both McDonald’s Corporation and McDonald’s of Metro St. Louis denied liability in the lawsuit and sought to dismiss the case.

McDonald’s Corporation argued that McLorn failed to sufficiently assert the existence of a legal duty.

McDonald’s of Metro St. Louis argued that it is not a proper party in the suit, claiming it is a co-op of McDonald’s and has “no role or control in the day to day operation of any McDonald’s franchise.”

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 15-L-400

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St. Clair County Circuit Court Unsell, Schattnik & Phillips Wendler Law

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