MARTINSBURG - A lawsuit against the United States of America for injuries allegedly sustained at the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Hospital has been settled and dismissed from federal court.

An order to dismiss the lawsuit was filed on Nov. 6 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia at Martinsburg, two days after a notice of settlement was filed.

Dorothy Christian and Elmer Christian claimed on Jan. 29, 2010, Dorothy Christian fell after stepping into a stormwater drain when attempting to reach her automobile that was legally parked in a handicap space in a parking lot operated and maintained by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, according to a complaint filed Aug. 7, 2012, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia at Martinsburg.

The Christians claimed the defendant was negligent in maintaining and/or positioning the handicap parking space in an improper proximity to a hidden storm drain and negligently maintained and/or positioned the stormwater drain at an improper slope that caused it to be hidden from human sight.

The defendant negligently maintained and/or positioned the handicap parking space in an improper proximity to any access ramp or other appropriate passage to the Martinsburg VA Medical Center's buildings, according to the suit.

The Christians claim Dorothy Christian suffered injuries, including breaking her left and right shoulders; severe injury to her knees; severe and permanent injury to her body; physical deformity; physical pain and suffering; emotional distress; loss of enjoyment of life; annoyance and inconvenience; loss of mobility and basic functioning for a prolonged period of time; and medical expenses.

As a direct and proximate result of Dorothy Christian's injuries, Elmer Christian suffered loss of companionship; loss of assistance; loss of comfort; loss of care; and loss of affection of his wife, according to the suit.

The Christians were seeking $1 million for Dorothy Christian and $330,000 for Elmer Christian. They were being represented by Christopher C. Luttrell and Christopher J. Prezioso of Luttrell & Prezioso PLLC.

The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin K. Reisenweber.

The case was assigned to District Judge Gina M. Groh.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia at Martinsburg case number: 3:12-cv-00072

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