Woman blames employer for fall in parking lot

By Kyla Asbury | Nov 20, 2012

CHARLESTON – A Logan County woman is suing the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia, Inc., after she claims she was injured when she was forced to move her car in the snowy parking lot.

Deshawna Carter was employed by the defendant in its Holden facility in Logan County known as the June Montgomery Harless Children’s Home, according to a complaint filed Nov. 15 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Carter claims the defendant was responsible for ensuring that the parking lots on its premises were maintained in a safe condition for its employees and it was responsible for the maintenance, treatment, inspection, supervision, repair and daily upkeep of all parking lots located on its premises.

On Dec. 31, 2010, at approximately 8 a.m., Carter arrived on the defendant’s premises prior to the start of her shift and parked her vehicle in the designated parking lot close to the entrance of the facility because the parking lot was slick and snow-covered, according to the suit.

Carter claims it was the same parking lot she parked in every day when she came to work and her vehicle occupied the second nearest spot to the entrance door, with her supervisor occupying the nearest spot.

The parking lot had not been treated earlier that morning prior to Carter’s arrival and, despite the unsafe condition of the slick and snow-covered parking lot, Carter was able to safely ambulate from her vehicle into the facility and began her shift, according to the suit.

Carter claims at approximately 9:45 a.m., her supervisor instructed her to move her vehicle in order for a co-worker, who had just arrived on the premises, to occupy her parking spot.

The co-worker had fallen a few weeks earlier in the same parking lot due to slick conditions from a previous snow fall and injured her leg, according to the suit, and it was determined that she needed a close parking spot at the entrance of the facility in order to safely ambulate from her vehicle into the facility.

Carter claims she moved her vehicle to the next closest spot, which was much farther away from the entrance of the facility, but when she exited her vehicle and proceeded to walk toward the facility, she stepped on ice under the snow and fell to the ground, fracturing her right ankle and suffering a serious, permanent and disabling injury

Following the fall, Carter was unable to be assisted to her feet and laid on the ground in the snow until an ambulance arrived, according to the suit.

Carter claims her supervisor apologized to her and informed her that she was supposed to treat and salt the parking lot that morning, but never did.

The parking lot was maintained in a dangerous and unsafe condition that was likely to result in serious injury to employees and individuals who parked their vehicles and/or walked on the parking lot, according to the suit, and at all times relevant to the incident, the defendant was aware that the slick and snow-covered parking lot was dangerous and unsafe.

Carter claims the defendant failed to warn employees of the dangerous and unsafe condition and had a duty to protect all individuals who parked and/or walked on the parking lot, from dangerous and unsafe conditions existing on the parking lot.

The defendant had actual knowledge that the parking lot was dangerous and unsafe for employees who parked their vehicles on the lot, according to the suit, and the parking lot should have been properly cleared, treated or cordoned off in a manner to warn people that it was unsafe and dangerous.

Carter claims the defendant exposed her to a known specific unsafe working condition, which ultimately resulted in her permanent, serious and disabling injuries.

The defendant’s actions violate state or federal safely statures, rules or regulations, according to the suit, and caused Carter’s injuries.

Carter is seeking a jury trial on the issues of liability and damages. She is being represented by Timothy C. Bailey and J. Ryan Stewart.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Louis H. Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 12-C-2286

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