J.C. Penney customer files complaint for elevated floor mat

Ann Knef May 23, 2007, 6:00am

St. Clair Square Mall shopper Leota Rice is suing J.C. Penney Corp. for negligence, claiming she tripped over a heavy black mat on the floor of a restroom and sustained severe and permanent external and internal injuries.

The incident took place May 21, 2005, according to the complaint filed May 18 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Rice also names the mall's management entities, St. Clair Square Limited Partnership and CBL & Associates Properties, Inc., as well as J.C. Penney Properties, Inc.

Rice, represented by Peter S. Blasi of Roth, Evans & Lading of Granite City, claims the defendants failed to provide a good, safe and proper place to walk. She is seeking in excess of $200,000 in damages.

The mat was placed on the floor directly in front of the sink, the complaint states.

Rice also claims the defendants failed to provide safe ingress and egress to and from the stalls of the restroom, failed to replace the mat that was in need of repair and failed to provide appropriate lighting in the restroom.

"Defendants could and should have anticipated that individuals, especially elderly customers, walking through the doorway would not realize the existence of the mat and/or its significant increase in elevation when compared to the floor," the complaint states.

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