Defective stair railing prompts woman's $50k suit

Steve Gonzalez Sep. 19, 2007, 9:25am

Melody Shemwell filed suit against Jennifer Wood claiming she was injured after falling down the stairs at Wood's home at 2824 Washington Ave. in Granite City on June 8, 2006.

Shemwell, of Granite City, filed suit in St. Clair County Circuit Court -- twice the distance to the Madison County Courthouse where her alleged injuries occurred.

The suit claims Shemwell fell because the rail she was holding while on the stairs "pushed away."

She claims her injuries were caused by the negligence and carelessness of Wood because she failed to exercise the requisite degree of care by creating a dangerous condition in the area she fell.

Shemwell also claims Wood failed to properly maintain the railing, failed to warn her of the railing and failed to repair the railing which caused her to fall.

According to Shemwell, she sustained severe and permanent injuries including the loss of smell and taste, permanent paralysis on the right side of her face, difficulty breathing and damage to her vision.

She also claims she has incurred medical expenses in excess of $72,000.

"Defendant knew or should have known of the dangerous condition and the potential harm it could cause," the complaint states.

Represented by Matthew Sauter of St. Louis, Shemwell is seeking damages in excess of $50,000, plus costs, pre-judgment interest and other relief the court deems just and proper.

07 L 426 (20th Circuit)

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