Speedway removes slip-and-fall case, says more than $75K at stake

By John O'Brien | Jan 2, 2014

HUNTINGTON – Speedway LLC has removed a personal injury lawsuit against it to federal court, arguing the plaintiff is seeking more than $75,000.

On Dec. 23, the gas station chain removed Betty Wolford’s lawsuit from Cabell County Circuit Court to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. Wolford claims she slipped and fell in the parking lot of a Speedway in Huntington.

The $75,000 figure is a threshold for federal jurisdiction.

According to Speedway, Wolford is seeking payment of medical bills in the amount of $12,561 and future medical bills if her condition worsens. She is also seeking an unspecified amount of punitive damages, the removal notice says.

“In further proof that the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional limits of this court, Defendant states that the Plaintiff has already demanded more than $75,000 in settlement negotiations in this matter,” the notice says.

Speedway is represented by Robert L. Massie of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough in Huntington.

On June 27, 2012, Betty Wolford was at Speedway in Huntington when she slipped and fell, according to a complaint filed Nov. 12 in Cabell Circuit Court.

Wolford claims she stepping up to the gas pump when her foot became lodged in a black tar-like substance, causing her to suddenly crash into the pavement.

Upon seeing Wolford’s injury, a Speedway employee “exclaimed she was sorry for plaintiff’s fall and that she had meant to clean the black tar-like substance up earlier,” according to the suit.

Wolford claims prior to the incident, a witness overheard several Speedway employees discussing who was responsible for cleaning up the parking lot and the witness helped Wolford fill out an accident or incident report.

The defendant failed to maintain and inspect the Speedway it operated, which caused Wolford to fall and sustain multiple injuries, according to the suit.

Wolford claims as a direct and proximate result of the incident, she continues to suffer from frequent headaches, face pain and leg pain.

Wolford is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre-judgment interest. She is being represented by Abraham J. Saad of Saad Law Office.

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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