MARTINSBURG – Facing a motion for summary judgment and apparently without an expert witness, a Jefferson County woman has settled her trip-and-fall lawsuit against City Hospital in Martinsburg.

On March 21, Mary V. Leps settled her lawsuit against City Hospital and WVUH-East Services that she filed in October 2011 in Berkeley County Circuit Court. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Attorneys for the defendants had filed a motion for summary judgment a month earlier, arguing if there was a defect in the floor, it was an obvious condition.

Leps alleged that in October 2009, she was in City Hospital to get an MRI on her hip. She was directed by an employee to walk down the hallway to the radiology department, she says.

While doing so, she tripped and fell, the complaint says, and she noticed the floor had a crack and bulge that created an unsafe and dangerous defect.

The lawsuit alleges there were no signs or warnings from employees to notify Leps of the dangerous condition of the floor.

Her subsequent injuries led to a surgery and permanent impairment, the lawsuit says. It was filed by Gregory A. Bailey and Christopher P. Stroech of Arnold & Bailey in Shepherdstown.

A Dec. 7 mediation report said attempts to reach a settlement failed, and the case should proceed to an April 23 trial date.

On Feb. 12, Bridget Cohee of Steptoe & Johnson asked Berkeley Circuit Judge Christopher Wilkes to impose sanctions on the plaintiff. She argued the plaintiffs had not filed an expert witness disclosure by a Dec. 14 deadline and had only notified the defendants of a cross-designation of their expert.

Wilkes denied the request to strike all expert witnesses and impose monetary sanctions.

Ten days later, the defendants moved for summary judgment. They argued that no rational trier of fact could find for the plaintiff.

“The Plaintiff alleges she fell due to a cracked tile, and while there is a factual dispute as to the condition of the floor and the location of the fall, taking the Plaintiff’s allegations as true, her version of the facts (does) not establish a basis for recovery,” the motion says.

“The Plaintiff testified that the cracked tile was an obvious defect and the area was not hidden or concealed. No other person fell or complained about the condition of the floor being dangerous, nor has another person been injured by tripping and falling on the floor near the location where Mrs. Leps claims there was an obvious defect.”

The settlement came a month later, before Leps’ attorneys filed a response to the motion.

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at jobrienwv@gmail.com.




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