Court upholds woman’s $4.9M verdict from icy sidewalk fall

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld a $4.9 million jury verdict awarded to a Texas woman after she fell outside an eastern Iowa hotel on an icy sidewalk.

The court in its ruling Wednesday rejected arguments by Marriott International that the jury’s 2018 verdict was excessive and the result of jury prejudice against the corporation.

The lawsuit was filed by Brenda Alcala, a software consultant for Genesis Health Systems. She was staying at the Bettendorf Courtyard by Marriott in January 2010 when she slipped on ice and broke an ankle.

The appeals court ruling affirms a district judge’s decision that the verdict was supported by the evidence.

It’s the second time the case has been before Iowa appellate courts. In 2016 the Iowa Supreme Court threw out a $1.2 million verdict from the first trial in 2014 and ordered a new trial over errors in jury instructions.

The court’s ruling on Wednesday upholds the higher verdict from the second trial held in 2018.

Attorneys for Marriott didn’t immediately reply to a message.