WINFIELD -- A Milton man is suing Absten & Sons for injuries he sustained when attempting to leave his home at Hickory Way Apartments.

Absten Enterprises, LLC was also named as a defendant in the suit.

On July 28, 2011, the defendants' work crew commenced the replacement of the staircase that provided the only access to the second and third floors of the building in which Kenneth Dale Snyder lived in Hickory Way Apartments, according to a complaint filed March 19 in Putnam Circuit Court.

Snyder claims he was notified at about 10 a.m. by an employee of Hickory Way that maintenance work would begin shortly and that he should evacuate the apartment, so he gathered his keys and wallet, turned off the lights and locked his apartment.

As Snyder approached the staircase, he noticed the defendant's crew of workers at the building and one worker held a lit welding torch at the top of the staircase, according to the suit.

Snyder claims the employee turned off the welding torch and stepped aside to allow Snyder access to the staircase.

When Snyder's foot struck the second step of the staircase, the steps collapsed beneath him and his feet immediately began to slip, so he instinctively grabbed for the step and landing above him, according to the suit.

Snyder claims he fell about 12 feet to the first floor stairwell, along with concrete and metal components of the staircase.

"No effort was made by any of the defendant's employees to prevent the plaintiff from accessing the steps, and no one assisted the plaintiff as he lay in obvious distress amongst the rubble of the staircase," the complaint states.

Snyder claims a tenant on the first floor helped with cleaning up his injuries and then he went to his ex-wife's home, where a friend more thoroughly addressed his wounds and allowed him to rest for a few hours.

When Snyder returned to his apartment later in the day, a friend came to check on him and because the pain he was feeling was growing worse, the friend took him to the emergency department of St. Mary's Medical Center, according to the suit.

Snyder claims he was diagnosed with three broken ribs, deep bruises and serious abrasions at the hospital.

The defendants were negligent in failing to warn Snyder of the dangerous situation existing in the staircase and disregarded the safety of Snyder and the other tenants, according to the suit.

Snyder is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is being represented by David B. Richard.

Putnam Circuit Court case number: 12-C-87

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