HUNTINGTON - A Poca couple is blaming the manufacturer and seller of a tree stand that they say was faulty and caused a November 2004 fall.
Jerry and Nikki Whittington filed the suit Oct. 23 in federal court for the Southern District of West Virginia against Hunter's View Ltd. and Wal-Mart.
Hunter's View is the maker of the Silver Condor tree stand, the complaint says, that malfunctioned and caused Jerry Whittington to fall about 25 feet while hunting in Mason County.
"Within a moment of discovering that the quick clip/aluminum pin was partially dislodged from the arm rest, the quick clip/aluminum pin suddenly and unexpectedly popped out of the hole in the arm rest thereby releasing the critical tree connection cable to become disconnected to the tree stand," the complaint says.
"At the same moment that the tree connection cable became disconnected from the tree stand, the entire tree stand collapsed, causing the plaintiff to plummet to the ground some 25 feet below."
Whittington says the fall broke his back and caused him to be unable to use his legs. Unable to even crawl, he lay there for 12 hours until he was discovered, the suit says.
He adds that he has suffered partial paralysis in his lower extremities and seeks compensation for physical and mental pain and suffering, permanent physical impairment, loss of wages and benefits, loss of earning capacity and benefits, loss of capacity to enjoy life and medical expenses.
Nikki Whittington makes a claim for loss of consortium.
They say Wal-Mart and Hunters View breached their express and implied warranties and were "negligent in the design, manufacture and distribution" of the tree stand.
Charleston attorney L. Lee Javins II is representing the Whittingtons.
The case has been assigned to Judge Robert Chambers.
U.S. District Court case number 3:06-cv-00903