While winter can prove to be a boost in work for many landscape companies that offer snow and ice removal services, Gold and Green Landscaping Corp. has recently seen the opposite effect.
According to Westfair Communications, the Port Chester, Connecticut, company has filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in bankruptcy court in White Plains over a potential $1 million liability in a slip-and-fall lawsuit.
Westfair Communications reports that Janeth Medina, a housekeeper at a Greenwich home, said she injured her wrist, back and neck in 2015 when she slipped on ice that had accumulated in the driveway of 535 North St.
Medina claimed negligence in maintaining the driveway and sued Gold and Green in Superior Court in Stamford, Westfair Communications reports.
According to Westfair Communications, Gold and Green had a $2 million insurance policy, but it included a $25,000 snow and ice rider.
Company president Marta Alvarez told Westfair Communications that the limit, “has been exhausted” on legal fees. She told Westfair Communications that her attorney has withdrawn from the case because the insurance no longer covers payments.
Gold and Green was formed by Alvarez in 2013, and it’s reported that she owns three trucks, a van and landscaping equipment. Last year, Westfair Communications says the firm took in $252,181, according to the bankruptcy reports, and in 2016, it grossed $300,807.
Westfair Communications reports that Alvarez pays herself, her husband, Manuel Esteche, and the manager $14,497 each per year, and she pays a $1,000 a month rent to operate the business from home.
If it weren’t for the potential $1 million judgment, Westfair Communications says Gold and Green would have a good balance sheet with $125,900 in assets and $21,000 in liabilities.
Alvarez told Westfair Communications that she argued in the case that she had no control over the conditions leading up to the accident. Alvarez told Westfair Communications that she (Medina) should have taken reasonable care for her own safety since she should have known there would be an obvious accumulation of snow and ice on the driveway.
Alvarez says the lawsuit has taken several, “twists and turns,” according to Westfair Communications, in a bankruptcy court affidavit, and mediation has proved unsuccessful.
The owner of Greenwich house, JDH LLC, was also sued by Medina, but she did not name the residents as defendants. JDH, Westfair Communications reports, is registered in Connecticut to Edith Cooper and Robert Taylor.
According to Westfair Communications, Gold and Green filed for bankruptcy to, “protect itself from having to defend a large claim in Connecticut state court where it believes it will not receive fair treatment and the costs will be unmanageable.”
Westfair Communications says a jury trial had been scheduled for July, and in filing for bankruptcy, Westfair Communications says Alvarez has asked the Stamford court for a stay to stop the proceedings.
That, Alvarez told Westfair Communications, will give the landscaping company time to file a reorganization plan and get, “a few months breathing room to execute its plans.”