CHARLESTON - An El Cerrito, Calif., man is suing the Racing Corporation of West Virginia for injuries he sustained when he fell on its property.

Racing Corporation of West Virginia is doing business as Mardi Gras Casino & Resort.

On July 21, 2011, Michael Debellis was visiting the Mardi Gras Hotel in Cross Lanes and was staying at the hotel because he was the best man in a friend's wedding, according to a complaint filed March 26 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Debellis claims that evening, he was outside of the hotel when he saw two of his friends and started walking down the hill to join his friends when he came to a ledge that he did not see until it was too late and fell over the wall approximately six feet and landed on his right ankle and buttocks.

The area was poorly lit and the defendants did not have signs posted to notify patrons of the steep drop, according to the suit, and did not have a gate or any barrier to prevent Debellis from walking off the ledge.

Debellis claims as a result of the defendant's negligence in not removing a known hazard from the general public and in not providing a barrier to prevent falls in not warning of the hazard, Debellis sustained severe and permanent injuries, including a complex caleaneal fracture involving the articular surface of the subtaler joint posteriorly; severe pain in his ankle and buttocks; decreased range of motion in his foot; pain with movement of the ankle; and stiffness and tenderness in the ankle area.

As a further consequence of the defendant's negligence, Debellis sustained pain and suffering; medical expenses; loss of wages; mental and psychological anguish; and loss of enjoyment of life, according to the suit.

Debellis is seeking compensatory damages. He is being represented by J. Timothy DiPiero and Olubunmi T. Kusimo-Frazier of DiTrapano, Barret, DiPiero, McGinley & Simmons PLLC.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Tod J. Kaufman.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 13-C-572

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