Man's stuck finger leads to $50k suit

Steve Gonzalez Jun. 29, 2005, 8:59am

Emanuel Fleming, who garnered national media attention when his finger became stuck in a payphone while trying to retrieve 50 cents from the machine, filed suit in St. Clair County Circuit Court against ANJ Communications.

The incident took place Nov. 17, 2003, after a phone call to his wife did not go through because her line was busy.

In his suit, Fleming claims that during the three-and-a-half hour ordeal he suffered excruciating discomfort, muscle and body aches, lingering pain in his finger and body, mental anguish, pain and suffering, humiliation and embarrassment.

Fleming also claims he has lost wages, lost partial use of his finger, loss of strength, susceptibility to pain and stiffness when performing common daily activities and weather changes.

He alleges that the phone company welded metal plates around the coin box to armor it from theft, and cut out a small crude hole over the phone’s normal coin return slot to allow access to returned coins from incomplete calls.

“The finger opening through the metal plate was too small to accommodate Fleming’s average sized finger,” the complaint states.

Fleming is represented by Barry Forman of Cahokia. He is seeking in excess of $50,000.

ANJ is a member of the Midwest Independent Coin Payphone Association.

05 L 361 (20th Circuit)

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