Heavy couple sues after courtroom bench collapses

Steve Gonzalez Jun. 7, 2006, 11:55am

A couple whose combined weight is at least 600 pounds filed a personal injury lawsuit against Madison County alleging injuries after a courtroom bench they were sitting on collapsed.

Kimberley and Walter Commander claim the county failed to properly inspect the wooden benches in the courtroom to see that they were able to hold up when sat upon and failed to warn them that the benches were unable to support the weight of people sitting on the benches.

The couple filed suit June 2 in Madison County Circuit Court.

Kimberly, who was making an appearance on a misdemeanor theft charge, claims she sustained injuries to her left side, shoulder and ankle while Walter claims he sustained back injuries.

The incident took place May 5 while they were waiting for Kimberly's case to be heard in Room 103.

They both allege their injuries caused pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of wages and disability.

The couple has made several appearances in Madison County Court.

On Jan. 25, Walter was charged with domestic violence in Madison County.

In October 2003, Walter claimed he was the victim of domestic violence. In that case, Kimberly was charged.

In January of 1992, Walter was charged in Madison County with felony manufacturing or delivery of cocaine.

Represented by Lance Mallon of Wood River, the Commanders are seeking damages in excess of $100,000, plus costs of the suit.

Information regarding their weight was made available through court records.

After the bench collapsed, an ambulance was dispatched by the Edwardsville Fire Department. Kimberly was taken from the courthouse on a stretcher.

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