Woman walks into a ladder while 'engrossed' in her cellphone; jury awards her $161,000

April 14, 2016

They say that walking under a ladder will bring a person bad luck.

Apparently, walking into that same ladder while texting will bring you a pot of gold … or, $161,000, to be exact.

That’s what happened for DeToya Moody.

Photos from a surveillance video show a worker replacing the letters on a bank sign at the Decatur, GA Publix grocery store in February 2011. The worker reportedly had placed orange safety cones on either side of the back of the truck, and he was in the bucket on the ladder, which was extended “when Moody parked her vehicle behind the truck,” reports Georgia legal journal The Daily Report.

Moody walked past the truck and underneath the ladder, then turned and went back to the car to get something, before walking back to use an ATM machine by the truck.

While Moody was at the ATM machine, the worker lowered the bucket to the sidewalk. That’s when Moody came back to her car, “holding her cellphone in front of her face,” according to the defense portion of the pretrial order.

Phone records confirm that Moody was sending an outgoing message at the time she walked into the ladder.

According to The Daily Report:

“The ladder the woman (Moody) walked into was bright orange, and she had walked past the truck three times prior to the accident. But most damning was video footage showing the woman engrossed in her cellphone as she struck the ladder and collapsed onto the concrete.”

To be sure, Moody was injured and taken by ambulance to the DeKalb Medical Center. Her doctor diagnosed her with post-traumatic headaches and a mild concussion. She also had a slight indentation in her head.

Moody sued the worker’s employer, R. Henry, Inc. The defense offered $5,000, which Moody rejected.

Despite the photo and phone record evidence, a DeKalb County jury found that Moody was only 8 percent liable for her injuries. As such, she was awarded $161,000, or 92 percent of a $175,000 verdict.

Even Joseph Wilson — Moody’s own lawyer — said “he had no idea where the 8 percent figure came from.”  He even admitted that the defense made a “common sense” argument that Moody “wasn’t paying attention.”  

Despite her own attorney’s apparent doubts about her case, Moody walked away $161,000 richer.

And we’re left with yet another head-scratching story about a ridiculous lawsuit award.