Pamela Encell, age 51, was walking out of the Motel 6 located on Century
Boulevard near Los Angeles International Airport when she sidestepped a
curb that was only 2" high and that was obscured by dark shadows created
by a large overhang. The sidewalk and driveway surfaces blended together
and looked the same.
The accident occurred at 7:15 p.m. on July 21, 1996. Although the entrance
is located on the east side of the building, causing deep, dark shadows
to occur daily, Motel 6 failed to "keep the lights on" as it promises to
do in its national advertising campaign. Motel 6 has a safety manual that
discusses all of the hazards that were present when the accident occurred,
but the safety manual sat on a shelf. Motel 6 failed to practice accident
prevention. The deceptive curb failed to have a painted stripe as a warning
until after this tragedy occurred.
Attorney Edward Steinbrecher, who represented Encell, stated that the
jury's verdict will send a wake-up call to Motel 6 to keep its pledge to
the public to "keep the lights on" and practice accident prevention. Encell's
serious ankle injury could have been avoided by simply "keep(ing) the lights
on" and painting a warning stripe on the deceptive curb.
The jury returned a verdict of $300,000, far in excess of the paltry
$40,000 offered by Motel 6 to settle this case.