Another couple sues Charleston, civic center for injuries

By Kyla Asbury | Apr 9, 2015

CHARLESTON – A Mingo County cheerleading coach and her husband are suing the City of Charleston after she sustained injuries while on its property.

Charleston Civic Center and Connor Sports Flooring LLC were also named as defendants in the suit.

On Dec. 12, Susie N. Deskins was a coach of Tug Valley High School cheerleading squad and was attending a practice session the day before the West Virginia High School Cheerleading Championship at the city's sports arena, according to a complaint filed Feb. 11 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Deskins claims as the practice was beginning, she was walking onto the court to coach her squad when she contacted the elevated and unmarked single step at the perimeter of the basketball court, causing her to fall to the floor.

Because of the fall, Deskins shattered her right arm, which required a surgical reconstruction of her arm, along with other serious, permanent and life-altering injuries requiring a nine-day hospitalization, followed by a nine-day hospitalization, outpatient care, rehabilitation and therapy, according to the suit.

Deskins claims the defendants owed a duty to individuals visiting its premises to operate, maintain and inspect its premises, so that it remained in a reasonably safe condition.

The defendants failed to maintain the floor and premises in a reasonably safe condition; failed to warn individuals of the height transition caused by the single unmarked step at the perimeter of the basketball court; and failed to employ transitional ramps and/or other devices to eliminate or mitigate the risk created by the unmarked and inconspicuous single step, according to the suit.

Deskins claims the defendants failed to use contrasting colors or materials or other visual cues to render the single step and height transition safe and noticeable and failed to provide adequate lighting.

The plaintiff's husband, James F. Deskins, suffered emotional injuries, has been deprived of the services and consortium of his wife and has been required to provide care and other services he would not have performed if his wife had not been injured.

The Deskinses are seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by Benjamin M. Mishoe, Frank Venezia and Charles S. Piccirillo of Shaffer & Shaffer PLLC.

This is the second lawsuit filed against the city, Connor and the Charleston Civic Center for injuries sustained at the sports arena. Previously, Logan County basketball legend Willie Akers filed a similar lawsuit.

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Tod J. Kaufman.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 15-C-330

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