RIPLEY - A slip-and-fall lawsuit against the Jackson County Commission has come to a conclusion with the woman who filed it agreeing to withdraw her complaint.
On June 2, trial was scheduled to begin in the case of Mary Jane McCallister v. the Jackson County Commission. In her complaint filed July 2, 2008, in Jackson Circuit Court, the 81-year-old plaintiff, a resident of Millwood, alleged she "slipped and fell on a wet floor injuring her knees" after entering the Jackson County courthouse through a side door on July 5, 2006.
McCallister, a widow who lives on a fixed-income from Social Security and PEIA, alleges she went to the courthouse that day "to conduct business." Though records are unclear as to how long, McCallister says was not able to get up until she received assistance from an unknown individual
After her fall, McCallister was taken to Jackson General Hospital where she was treated for blood clots in the emergency room. Though alleging she suffered "past and future pain and suffering, past and future medical bills, permanent injury and mental anguish" due to the fall - which resulted in her now using a cane to walk, and facing the possibility to undergoing knee replacement surgery -- McCallister later admitted in discovery that prior to accident she'd been previously been treated for arthritis and blood clots in her knees.
Still, McCallister alleged the commission was negligent by not keeping the courthouse foyer free of slippery substances. There were no indications that the floor was slippery upon her entering the courthouse, and a floor mat that could have aided in mitigating any such hazards, was rolled up, and placed against the wall.
In its answer filed on July 31, Commission denied McCallister's allegations saying she not only failed to exercise reasonable care in entering the courthouse, but also failed to demonstrate the existence of a legal duty it owed to her. Records show David J. Mincer and Kelly C. Morgan with the Charleston law firm of Bailey and Wyant represented the commission.
The scheduled trial was averted when on March 9 the case was dismissed after McCallister agreed to drop the suit. The dismissal came a month prior to the completion of discovery, and less than week before McCallister was scheduled to undergo an independent medical exam.
According to its legal counsel, Kevin Harris, the commission paid an initial $2,500 deductible to its former insurance carrier to cover the initial attorneys fees. The commission is now insured through the state Board of Risk and Insurance Management which paid Bailey and Wyant $9,578.56 for its representation.
McCallister was represented by Mark W. Carbone with the Charleston law firm of Carbone and Blaydes.
Jackson Circuit Court case number: 08-C-96