Brenda Alcala slipped and fell at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Bettendorf in January of 2010 during a storm that produced freezing rain and drizzle. She injured her ankle and then sued, claiming the hotel did not do enough to remove the ice that had accumulated on the parking lot of the building.
A jury sided with Alcala and approved damages of just over $1.2 million. Marriot appealed the jury verdict, saying the district court abused its discretion by refusing to instruct the jury on what’s called “the continuing storm doctrine.” That doctrine allows a business to wait until the end of a storm to remove ice and snow from an outdoor entrance.
The Iowa Court of Appeals found there was enough evidence of freezing rain at the time to apply the continuing storm doctrine to the case. The court also found jury instructions on standards for maintenance and training at the hotel prejudiced the jury.
The case has been sent back to the district court for a new trial.
See the full ruling here: Marriott ruling PDF