Woman sues deaf and blind school

By John O'Brien | Jun 9, 2006

CHARLESTON - A Pennsboro woman who fell at a class reunion is suing the West Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind.

Sondra Roach filed the lawsuit June 2 in Kanawha Circuit Court, alleging that the Romney school did not provide handrails on its walkways.

Roach says on June 5, 2004, she was walking with Barbara Haines, who is deaf and sight impaired, when Haines lost her balance and began to fall. Rather than being able to grab a handrail, she was only able to grab Roach.

Roach says they both fell backward, and she broke her leg in four places. She adds that she has pins and a plate in her tibia, was confined to bed rest for two weeks, used a walker for six months and wore a leg brace for a year.

"The very design and configuration of the walkway and steps and the way in which they converge creates a very foreseeable dangerous condition in that disabled persons attempting to reach Seaton Hall must ascend the steps almost sideways because the sidewalk leads directly to the front corner of the steps," the complaint says.

The complaint adds that AIG, the school's insurance provider, admits that the lack of handrails was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, but has refused to pay Roach's claim.

She is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

David Grunau of Grunaw Law Offices in Morgantown is the plaintiff's attorney.

Judge Tod Kaufman has been assigned the case.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-1050

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