Woman blames Martinsburg Sears store for foot injuries

By Beth Henry | Jan 26, 2006

MARTINSBURG -- A Berkeley County woman says an unsecured lawn mower fell on her in a Martinsburg Sears store, causing a permanent loss of sensation in her feet and toes.

MARTINSBURG -- A Berkeley County woman says an unsecured lawn mower fell on her in a Martinsburg Sears store, causing a permanent loss of sensation in her feet and toes.

In a lawsuit filed Jan. 4, Belinda Fogle and her husband Quentin claim they were shopping in the Sears store in the Martinsburg Mall on May 27, 2004.

The Fogles say they were in the lawn and garden section of the store when a lawn mower fell without warning from a display that was at least 3 feet off the floor. The suit claims Belinda Fogle's feet and toes were injured by the lawn mower, which had not been secured to the display.

In the suit, filed by attorney Suzanne Williams-McAuliffe, the Fogles claim that the defendants - Sears, Roebuck and Co., and Martinsburg store manager Gayle Laing - were "negligent, careless and reckless in the display of lawn mowers by not properly securing and fastening the mowers to the elevated shelf, thereby exposing any and all passersby to a known risk and hazard."

The Fogles claim the rods normally used to secure the lawn mowers' wheels had been removed by Sears employees at the request of store managers because they had been remodeling the store. The lawn mower that struck Belinda Fogle had not been touched or disturbed by anyone, the suit says, and it simply fell off the display without warning.

Fogle says the injuries to her feet and toes required extensive medical treatment, including two surgeries, hospital expenses and doctor fees. She says the loss of sensation in her feet and toes is expected to be permanent, and as a result she has lost wages and enjoyment of life. Fogle also says she has suffered pain, suffering, emotional distress, inconvenience and worry as a result of her injuries. Quentin Fogle says he has also suffered because of his wife's injuries.

The Fogles seek a judgment in the amount adequate to compensate them for the injuries, medical expenses, lost wages and other damages sustained. They request a jury trial.

The case has been assigned to Judge Christopher Wilkes.

Berkeley County Circuit Court case number: 06-C-9

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