WHEELING – J.C. Penney denies it is at fault for a woman's alleged severe and disabling injuries she incurred after she says she tripped over a black cord while in the store's hair salon.

Sandra Johnson originally filed a lawsuit in Ohio Circuit Court that was later moved to federal court against J.C. Penney.

In her complaint, Johnson says she was at the J.C. Penney Salon at the Highlands in Wheeling to get her hair cut and styled on May 2, 2008.

"On the aforementioned date, the Plaintiff was participating in said hair appointment activities and at the instruction of her hair stylist the Plaintiff walked to the shampoo bowl and was caused to trip over a black cord that was strung across the walkway," the suit states.

Because of her trip, Johnson claims she was forced to incur medical costs and experienced pain, suffering, mental anguish, aggravation, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of ability to function, according to the complaint.

Johnson blamed J.C. Penney for failing to inspect its premises, for failing to provide a safe and proper area for Johnson to walk when its employees knew a dangerous obstacle remained, for failing to correct of its premises by not moving the black cord, for failing to warn Johnson of the dangerous conditions and for failing to provide adequate safeguards to prevent injuries.

J.C. Penney denies Johnson's allegations against it and contends Johnson fails to state cause of action under which relief can be granted.

In addition, its claims Johnson is the only one responsible for her injuries.

"If the plaintiff suffered injuries or damages as alleged in the Complaint, said injuries or damages were the proximate result of intervening or superseding causes and/or actions by either the plaintiff or other persons for whom these defendants had no responsibility, control or liability," the suit states.

Johnson is seeking unspecified damages, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs, attorneys' fees and other relief the court deems just.

J.C. Penney is asking the court to rule in its favor and to grant it costs.

Michael G. Simon and Kevin M. Pearl of Frankovitch, Anetakis, Colantonio and Simon in Weirton will be representing Johnson.

Macel E. Rhodes of Zimmer Kunz in Morgantown will be representing J.C. Penney.

U.S. District Court case number: 5:09-CV-79




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