Kmart appeals judge's ruling in Carson parking lot injury case

The Nevada Supreme Court was urged Monday to overturn a lower court award of about $206,000 to an elderly woman who tripped over a spike embedded in a Kmart parking lot in Carson City.

But the lawyer for Shirley Rapp countered that the award should be preserved and that Rapp should be allowed to seek additional punitive damages as a result of the 1996 injury at Kmart's Carson City store.

Kmart Corp. lawyer Robert Eisenberg argued that sanctions imposed by former District Judge Mike Fondi should be erased because any omissions by the corporate lawyer who first handled the case stemmed from the fact he was suffering from cancer.

But Art Bayer, Rapp's lawyer, said the lawyer did respond in part to pretrial information requests, and also was overseen by other Kmart legal persons who should have known how the case was proceeding.

Fondi ordered the $206,000 plus another $6,500 in legal fees and sanctions, but barred Rapp from seeking the additional punitive damages that could push the 74-year-old woman's award much higher.

Rapp suffered back injuries when she tripped over a 4-inch spike that was sticking out of the asphalt in a handicapped parking area. The spike had held in place a concrete wheel-stop that had been broken apart earlier.

Bayer argued that Kmart had been warned by Carson City to clean up the parking lot before Rapp was injured but had failed to remove the spike that tripped his client.

The Supreme Court will issue a decision at a later date.

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