West Virginia Record

Friday, July 19, 2019

Manhole accident results in suit against Putnam PSD, contractors

By Lawrence Smith | Aug 26, 2010

WINFIELD -– A Putnam County man is alleging a public utility provider, and two firms it hired to help construct a water main extension, are responsible for injuries he sustained while trimming weeds.

David H. Sanson has named the Putnam Public Service District, Howard Bell Consulting Engineers Inc. and Pipe Plus Inc. as co-defendants in a personal injury lawsuit in Putnam Circuit Court. In his complaint filed on Aug. 2, Sanson, 44, of Winfield, alleges all three failed to properly cover a manhole which he fell into last year.

According the suit, PPSD awarded contracts to Pipe Plus, of Nitro, and Bell Engineering, of Lexington, Ken., for the Kings River Water Main Extension in Windsong Acres. Bell was design and Pipe Plus was to install the water main.

On a date not specified, a manhole was constructed on the street in Windsong Acres "for the purposes of testing the lines." Instead of placing a secure top on it, Sanson alleges the manhole was "filled or covered with plastic."

The covering, Sanson alleges, became undetectable as dirt and other objects covered it over time. On Sept. 6, while trimming weeds along the street, Sanson alleges he fell into the manhole and injured his left knee, right arm and shoulder.

In his suit, Sanson maintains PPSD, Pipe Plus and Bell Engineering owed him a duty to ensure the water main "was safe, was not a nuisance, and did not present a dangerous condition or an unreasonable risk or harm." As a result of their negligence, Sanson alleges she's incurred physical and emotional pain and suffering, medical and hospital expenses, past and future lost value of household services, lost enjoyment of life and other human losses and hedonic damages.

Sanson seeks unspecified damages, interest and costs. He is represented by Charleston attorney Marvin W. Masters.

The case is assigned to Judge Phillip M. Stowers.

Putnam Circuit Court case number 10-C-258

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