Basketball legend sues Charleston, civic center for injuries

By Chris Dickerson and Kyla Asbury | Apr 6, 2015

CHARLESTON – A Logan County basketball legend and his wife are suing the City of Charleston after he sustained injuries while on its property.

Charleston Civic Center and Connor Sports Flooring LLC were also named as defendants in the suit filed by Willie D. Akers and his wife.

Prior to Feb. 13, 2013, Connor sold Charleston a portable basketball floor, according to a complaint filed Feb. 11 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

On Feb. 13, 2013, Akers was attending a basketball game at the city's sports arena and, after the game concluded, he was exiting the arena when he contacted the elevated and unmarked single step at the perimeter of the basketball court, causing him to fall and strike his head and face on the floor, according to the suit.

Akers claims he broke his neck in the process and sustained other serious, permanent, life-threatening and life-altering injuries, requiring extended hospitalization, rehabilitation and therapy.

The defendants failed to maintain the floor and premises in a reasonably safe condition and failed to warn individuals of the height transition caused by the single unmarked step at the perimeter of the basketball court, according to the suit.

Akers claims the defendants failed to employ transitional ramps and/or other devices to eliminate or mitigate the risk created by the unmarked and inconspicuous single step and failed to use contrasting colors, materials or other visual cues to render the single step and height transition safe and noticeable.

The defendants' negligence caused Akers to suffer serious injuries, according to the suit.

Akers claims his wife, Linda Q. Akers,  suffered emotional injuries, has been deprived of the services and consortium of her husband and has been required to provide care and other services she would not have had to perform if her husband had not been injured.

The couple is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest.

Akers, 77, is a former West Virginia University basketball player, championship winning high school coach and Logan County commissioner.

The couple isybeing represented by Charles S. Piccirillo, Benjamin M. Mishoe and Frank Venezia of Shaffer & Shaffer PLLC.

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Louis Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 15-C-329

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