Personal Injury Court. This is the matter
ofJimenez v. Sullivan.Ms. Jimenez,
your daughter, Alma, my understanding is
you filed this lawsuit for medical expenses
in the amount of $35,000, pain and suffering
in the amount of $150,000. For a total of $185,000 for injuries that
your daughter suffered when she fell off a platform
at Ms. Sullivan’s dress shop. -Is that correct?
-Yes, Your Honor. [Judge Brogdon]
And, Ms. Sullivan… -Yes, Your Honor.
-…you don’t think
this is your fault. You think, frankly,
this is their fault. -True?
-Yes, Your Honor. All right, well,
let’s get into the legal sauce. Ms. Jimenez, tell me
how we got here. Well, Your Honor,
ever since the day
my baby, Alma, was born, I’ve been planning
aquinceanera.She’s my only daughter, -and when I was growing up…
-[audience] Aw. …we didn’t have
a lot of money,
so I didn’t get to have one. And I don’t know if you’re
familiar with thequinceanera,but it’s a celebration. -Yes, ma’am.
-Right? A 15th birthday. -Like a sweet 16
or a bar mitzvah.
-[Judge Brogdon] Yes, ma’am. I’ve been to a couple of them.
So it’s quite
a festive occasion. So you understand, right?
It’s a big to-do. I mean, we had the venue, we had the limo,
the catering service. Everything was done
to the nines for my baby girl,
my only daughter. Is it fair to say that,
and if I mess it up, it’s aquin-cera?Aquince-anera.Quin-ce-anera.-Quinceanera.Correct.
-Okay. -It’s basically a coming out.
-[Alma] Yes. It is. It’s her debut. Now, Ms. Sullivan,
you’ve done a number
of these, right? Absolutely, Your Honor.
Yeah. [Judge Brogdon] In terms of
preparing dresses and how… You appreciate
how big this is, right? Absolutely. That’s what
our boutique, um, shop does. It specializes
inquinceaneras,yes. And everybody’s pretty excited ’cause this is
a one-time incident. Very much so.
Very much so. Now, Ms. Jimenez,
tell me what happened. Well, we were
done with everything that we needed to do
to prep for herquinceanera.This was the last tick
we had to
check off the to-do list. The final fitting
of the dress… -Now, I see a dress
in our courtroom.
-[Jimenez] Yes. This, this…
Say it one more time
and I’ll get it.Quinceanera.Quinceanera.-[Jimenez] Yeah, there you go.
-Quinceanera.I’m gonna be saying that
tonight in my sleep. Okay. This is the dress
that you had picked out
for your daughter? Well, that’s…
It’s similar to the dress. -The same glamour.
-But the same color… Yes. -The same bling. Right?
-Yes. And her favorite color,
that blue. I mean, that was,
it was all… She drew it out. [Judge Brogdon]
So the blue had purpose. -It did. It did.
-[Alma] Yeah. [Judge Brogdon] Right?
You picked the blue
’cause you wanted to wear blue. [Jimenez] She did.
Look, there she is.She looked beautiful.-Look how beautiful
that dress looks on her.
-[Judge Brogdon]Wow.You look so happy, Alma. -[Alma] I was so happy.
-Was this your dream dress? It was.
It was the color I wanted ever since I can remember. -It’s the color
we always talked about.
-[Jimenez] Yeah. So you’re
at Ms. Sullivan’s shop and you’re getting
the dress altered. What happened? So we’re there,
we’re in the fitting room, and so Alma gets up
on that platform, the platform that’s
sitting right there, and she’s posing,
we’re taking pictures. You know,
doing the selfie kinda thing. Just so she could
share with her friends and we could share
with our family. Y’all were just having
a good time, being happy. Absolutely.
I mean, this is… -Again, we’re approaching
the day of the thing…
-And, Ms. Sullivan, do you remember
this happy day? [Jimenez and Sullivan laugh] Yes, I remember it. Uh, just a little bit
more difficult than that. -Uh… But yes.
what do you mean? Well, uh, Ms. Jimenez was
a bit difficult to work with -and she was very demanding.
-You sounds like you’re
dancing with the words. She was very demanding. -Yeah, she might have been,
uh, a “B” word.
-[audience exclaims] Now, now, I’m sure,
I’m sure what that meant
was “Mama Bear.” Absolutely. This is
my daughter’s day. I want it to be perfect. She was a little bit more
difficult than we’ve
ever had before. You keep saying “difficult.” Tell me,
what does “difficult” mean? -I need to get that.
-She was extremely demanding. -And not very willing to…
Give me an example. …listen to instruction
about being on the platform. Alma or Ms. Jimenez? [Sullivan] Alma. And Ms. Jimenez as well. I was trying to get her
to not be dancing around
on the platform. -[Jimenez] Your Honor, this is
a special occasion.
-Now, now, you’ve– We are happy, we’re excited. -But, Ms. Jimenez–
-Are we supposed to stand there
stiff like mummies? Well, you’re trying to get
the hem done, right? Well, the problem is
it’s a small platform, and the platform
is strictly designed for the young lady to stand up there
so that we can
do the alterations. And then step down
after the alterations
have been done. -So…
-And she could
do her dancing there. So you needed them
to stay still? -[Sullivan] Yes.
-Now, Ms. Jimenez, how did your daughter get hurt?
I see the crutches.
How did she get hurt? So, Your Honor,
they did all the alterations, so she proceeds to step off
the front of that platform. And you see
how huge that dress is. -[Judge Brogdon] Yes, ma’am.
-She proceeds to
step off the front… Now you, you admit
that y’all were moving around,
having a good time? Of cou… Your Honor,
we were having a good…
We were celebrating. -This was the last thing
we need to check off our list.
-There was music playing. My favorite song came on. I mean, it was…
It really was
just innocent fun. -So you’re dancing around,
you’re having a good time.
-[Jimenez] Yes, sir. She’s about to
step off the platform.
And then what happens? And then she falls
to the ground, Your Honor. She falls to the ground, I hear her screaming,
“My leg, my leg!” I run over to see
what was going on with her. I’m sorry.
Because this is just… This is very traumatic
for me, just remembering
back to that day. It’s a big deal for any parent
to see a child hurt. [voice breaks]
I was sitting there
on the floor, I’m screaming. I’m like, “Are you okay?”
I don’t know
what is going on with her. -You felt pretty helpless.
-I did. -You discovered later that
your daughter broke her leg.
-I did. As reflected in
the medical records
that you all submitted. Yes, sir. So, after all that,
the paramedics come, and they told me
that she broke her leg. Now, Ms. Sullivan,
you were there that day. Um, I… Yes.
I remember the incident. [Judge Brogdon] What was
going through your head when a young lady
gets horribly injured
at your place? Well, it’s devastating for me. I have a 15-year-old child
as well. This has never happened
in our boutique. Well, it’s devastating. I’m a mother.
I… I had aquinceanera.I know what this is about. And it was terrifying
for me as well. This has never happened
in our boutique. My family has run this boutique
for 30 years. -But you weren’t there.
-Me, personally. -You were not there
when this happened.
-…I’ve run it for ten years. My daughter is still in pain. -Ms. Jimenez…
-[Jimenez] Still in pain. I had stepped out for a moment. So, Ms. Jimenez, you talked
about your daughter
falling on the floor. What are the nature
of all of her injuries? So, she broke her tibia,
her left tibia. She was in the hospital
a couple of days. Um, and she’s still
in the boot,
as you can see. And the pain was horrible,
Your Honor. -[Judge Brogdon] Yes, ma’am.
-[Jimenez] She’s still in pain. She… I mean…
This ruined our whole event. This leg still hurts, Alma? -[Alma] It does, yes.
-It does. It does. And, Your Honor,
I do have the X-rays and the doctor’s bills
and stuff, if you need that. Sheriff Matt, if you will
retrieve the folder. -Thank you, Ms. Jimenez.
-[Jimenez softly] Thank you. -I’m sorry, I’m just upset.
-There… There just can be
no greater parental pain -than when your child is hurt.
-You feel helpless. I see medical bills here
is the amount of $35,000. Yes, sir. There also is an X-ray here. Let’s take a look
at the monitor. -[audience]Whoa!
-[Judge Brogdon]What are we
looking at, Ms. Jimenez?[Jimenez]Well, that’s
her left tibia, broken.My baby cannot do the things
that she used to do. Her cheerleading… -[Alma] The homecoming dance.
-[Jimenez] Everything. Lot of things altered by this. -Yes. Her whole life.
-[Judge Brogdon] Yes, ma’am. She has to walk around
in crutches on her special day. So, Alma, you were in a boot
on this special day? -In a dress?
Yes, Your Honor. This was the moment
that my mom and I
had been planning ever since I can remember. With a big beautiful dress. And I didn’t even get that. I had to wear my second choice,
the pink. -How did you dance?
How did you celebrate?
-[Alma] I couldn’t. I couldn’t.
The boot was in the way. I couldn’t have my special
dad-daughter dance, I couldn’t dance
with the boy I liked, I couldn’t even dance
with my friends. Even taking the photos
was so hardbecause I had this
humungous boot in the dress
and…[sniffles] I mean, you are beautiful,
even with the boot. -[Alma] Thank you.
-Even with the boot.
That’s a beautiful dress. But I’ll never get that back,
and it won’t be how we planned. -This platform here,
-[Sullivan] Yes. [Judge Brogdon]
…is this the platform
from your store? [Sullivan] Yes, sir. Matt, would you put your arms
around that dress and move it off the platform? [Sullivan] If you’ll notice,
Judge, it actually has a sign. Signs on both steps
that say “Watch your step.” [Judge Brogdon]
And were those signs there
on that day? [Sullivan] Absolutely.
They’re never off. Is this the platform
that your daughter was on
that day? Yes, sir,
that tiny little thing
is the platform, yes, sir. Not a whole lot of space
to celebrate, right? Asking her to pose as well. -But you got on that platform
with your daughter?
-Yes, sir. [Judge Brogdon] And, uh,
that was the party space,
at least at the dress shop. -[Jimenez]It was.
Do you see why, though,that Ms. Sullivan
or her employees
would be nervous -about y’all celebrating?
-I do, -but she was not present.
-Yes. She should have been present
when my daughter was
still trying on the dress. -Your Honor, I–
-At the time that she fell,
she was not there. [Sullivan] We’re always busy. I stepped out
for two seconds just to, uh, answer a question. I heard the scream,
and I came running. I asked Magda to call 911 to get attention to her. Ms. Sullivan,
you referred to Magda. That’s Ms. Perez,
who’s sitting here
with you, right? Correct. Yes. Maybe, Ms. Perez, you can
step up to the podium?
I’d like to hear from you. -You were there
that day, right?
-Yes, sir. And tell me what you remember. -I hem and fit
all the dresses.
-[Judge Brogdon] Okay. And when the girls come,
they come up on the platform and that’s where
I take the measurements. And I always
tell them to be careful. -And you did that this day?
-[Perez] Yes, sir. -You told Alma, “Be careful.”
-[Perez] To the plaintiff’s
daughter, “Be careful.” To watch her steps. Did you say anything
to her mother, Ms. Jimenez? I said, “Ma’am, will you
please, you know, -keep eye on her.
Make sure she don’t fall.
-No. [Judge Brogdon] You were
concerned about her
actually stepping off? Yes, because she was
too jiggly. Like, too much.
And I could not
take measurements. Her mom insisting her,
“Oh, look this way. Oh, look that way.” So… [Judge Brogdon]
So when she fell,
it was right in front of you? Oh, actually no.
I step away. I was with another customer. -So no one was with her
when she’s on this platform?
-Exactly. -[Perez] Her mother.
-Exactly. -So let me get this straight,
-[Jimenez] Yes. You believe it’s their fault because they didn’t stay there and hold your daughter’s hand? -No, there’s something else,
-What else is that? Well, in order
to get the right measurements you have to have
the right pair of shoes. -Okay, makes sense.
-And so, they gave my daughter shoes
that were entirely too big. Two sizes, at least,
too big for her feet. Why does that
make a difference? That makes a difference because
I wanted my daughter
to be wearing four-inch heels. She needed the right heels
for that day. And those shoes were too big
for her feet. Why didn’t she bring her own? No. No, Your Honor… -We thought the shoes
were with the dress.
-Exactly. So, the shop usually
supplies those things. I knew she was
going to bring this up. Okay. So I’ve actually brought
the shoes that we recommend– [Judge Brogdon] These shoes? The shoes that we recommended
that she get are two-inch heels. -Because two–
-Why do you recommend
two-inch heels? Because typically,
a 15-year-old -is just learning
how to wear high heels.
-[audience clapping] -Your Honor…
-They don’t know
how to wear them normally. Your Honor, how does she know
what my daughter knows
or doesn’t know? So, Ms. Sullivan,
did you offer this shoe
with two-inch heels… -[Sullivan] Absolutely.
In the correct size though? In her size, everything. [Judge Brogdon]
In the correct size? This is her correct size
right here. Were you and your daughter
offered two-inch heels
in the correct size? Yes, those ugly shoes, yes. -We were offered those.
-Those are ugly. -This is the shoe
she wanted her to wear.
-[Jimenez] Yes. -[audience exclaims]
-Okay. This young girl is learning
how to wear high heels– [Jimenez] It’s a platform,
I’m wearing them now. That’s really like
a three-inch heel. …and it’s a spike heel. I wanna see those shoes,
and I’m not going to ask you
to try ’em on. [Sullivan and audience laugh] She demanded that we put,
we give her that shoe. We put that shoe
on her daughter. -This is the shoe
your daughter was wearing?
-[Jimenez] It was. -And it was too big.
-And… That was too big. And that’s why she fell off
the platform. Is it fair to say this heel’s too high
for a 15-year-old? No, sir.
That thing is slippery. And those shoes were
too big for my daughter’s feet. That’s why she fell off. Ms. Sullivan, your folks
had to know
the shoe was the wrong size. -Absolutely.
-[Jimenez] Exactly. We told her that
the shoe was the wrong size. -[Jimenez] Your Honor,
I do not recall that.
-She still wanted it. [Judge Brogdon]
What was her response? She demanded that we put
that shoe on her daughter. Alma, were you concerned
when, uh, they put
this shoe on you? I was, because I thought
they would have my size. -That was the shoe I wanted.
-[Judge Brogdon] But– And I had practiced at home
with other ones
that were the similar height. -Did it feel wobbly?
-It did. -But I trusted her.
-Did you tell them? I did. So when she tells you
she’s feeling wobbly,
y’all keep the shoes on? I told her to take–
We shouldn’t put it on
to begin with. And that her mother demanded
that we put it on. I have… I’m trying to provide
the best customer service– And how are we supposed to
get the measurements
without the right shoes? So, so, Ms. Jimenez. -[Jimenez] Yes, sir.
-If you demanded that they put on
the wrong shoe, it was so you that you get
the hem right, right? Correct. To match the shoes
that we already bought for her
for that day. How do you get the hem right
if you’re moving around? Well, that was… That happened after, though. That– Yeah. I think I’ve heard enough,
and I’m ready
to make a decision. [Judge Brogdon]
How do you get the hem right
if you’re moving around? In every personal injury case,
there are three elements. You all must prove
that Ms. Sullivan was wrong, and that her wrong
caused Alma’s injuries. Here, there’s a little bit
to go around. Ms. Jimenez,
you were a Mama Bear. A wonderful mom
that obviously got in the way of, uh, the effort
to try to hem the dress. Ms. Sullivan says she
and her employees tried
to talk to you about it. Uh, I do understand
once-in-a-life-time moments and why that was so important. Ms. Jimenez, on behalf
of your daughter, you are suing for $35,000
in medical expenses and $150,000
for her pain and suffering. That’s a total of $185,000. The law requires me
to factor in
your involvement in this. Ms. Jimenez, you are
your daughter’s injuries. But you’re not
the only one responsible. Ms. Sullivan,
y’all left her alone, you gave her the wrong shoes, and she fell.
She stepped off this platform and hurt herself very badly. Considering the
as the law requires, I do find the fault
on both sides. You’re 49% responsible. That’s why I’ve reduced
what you seek, and I find in favor
of the plaintiff -in the amount of $94,350.
-[audience exclaims] -Thank you, Your Honor.
That is my final judgement. -Thank you, Your Honor.
-Thank you, Your Honor. This court is adjourned.