Wood Co. man says trip to drunk tank resulted in injury

By Lawrence Smith | Apr 12, 2010


PARKERSBURG - The Wood County Commission is named as co-defendant in a slip-and-fall lawsuit by a Washington man who alleges he was injured after falling on an icy walkway at an alcohol recovery facility the Commission operates.

James Michael Wilcox on Feb. 26 filed suit against the Commission, and the Wood County Sheriff's Department. In his suit filed in Wood Circuit Court, Wilcox, 41, alleges the Commission and the Sheriff's Department were negligent in keeping the conditions around the inebriated recovery program free from hazards.

According to his suit, Wilcox was in the custody of Deputy J.W. Allen on March 1, 2008. Allen was transporting Wilcox to the program's facility at 1101 Mission Dr. in South Parkersburg for a charge of public intoxication.

After arriving at a time not specified, Wilcox maintains Allen began to escort him along the slopped sidewalk to the facility's entrance. During this time, Wilcox alleges his hands were handcuffed behind his back.

Shortly thereafter, Wilcox alleges he "slipped and fell on an icy area that had not been cleared." Because he could not catch himself due his hands being cuffed behind his back, Wilcox says he fell hard on the sidewalk resulting in "a fractured left humerus among other injuries."

In his suit, Wilcox alleges both the Sheriff's Department, and Allen, who also is named as a co-defendant, were negligent in failing to provide him "safe passage and entrance" into the building, and "forcing [him] to walk on a hazardous sidewalk without assistance." The Commission is negligent, Wilcox says, in "fail[ing] to maintain the IRP building's sidewalks, entranceways and general exterior areas in a safe condition."

Wilcox alleges he was required to undergo "special and extended care" to treat his fractured humerus." In addition to the "pain and suffering of body and mind" from the injury, Wilcox alleges his "ability to engage in his work and his everyday and ordinary activities has been, and will continue, to be diminished and impaired."

Wilcox seeks unspecified damages, interest and court costs. He is represented by Woodsfield, Ohio attorney Gary W. Smith.

The case is assigned to Judge Jeffrey B. Reed.

Wood Circuit Court, case number 10-C-81

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