Woman says Christmas tree lit her up

By John O'Brien | Oct 30, 2006

CHARLESTON - A Kanawha County woman says she was electrocuted by a Christmas tree and is suing the store at which she purchased it.

Mary Pritt filed the lawsuit Oct. 17 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Sears/KMart Incident Center because, she says, it mishandled her complaint and request for a refund. She is also suing Sedgewick Claims Management Service, Inc.

Pritt filed the lawsuit herself and wrote in her complaint that she bought the tree Dec. 3 from the Kanawha City KMart.

"I plugged the tree in and went to get out of the way so my daughter could decorate it," she adds. "As I went to stand up, I brushed against one of the tree limbs and it took hold of my arm and would not let go, during which it sent electrical current into my arm, up into my neck and stopped at my spine."

Pritt says her arm went numb and needed the help of her husband to bathe that night. A day after she filed her complaint, she says she was told it had mysteriously disappeared.

When she contacted Sedgwick, KMart's insurance provider, she says was told the company was not libel and she would have to contact the tree's manufacturer in Tokyo.

After trying twice with no luck, she requested $5,000 from Sedgwick, which only offered $500, the complaint says.

Pritt adds that she has extensive nerve and muscle damages, as well as two prescriptions she will need to keep for the rest of her life that cost her $190 per month.

Her complaint includes a picture of damage to her elbow. She seeks $2,040 for medical costs, $5,000 for pain and suffering and $10,000 for court costs.

Judge Paul Zakaib has been assigned the case.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-2158

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