J.C. Penney escalator jerked, woman claims in suit

Kelly Holleran Mar. 29, 2011, 2:15am

A woman claims she sustained spinal, hand, elbow and head injuries after an escalator's sudden, jerking motion caused her to fall.

Lois I. Knight filed a lawsuit March 8 in Madison County Circuit Court against Schindler Elevator Corporation, J.C. Penney Corporation and Coyote Management.

Knight claims she was visiting J.C. Penney at the Alton Square Mall on Nov. 29, 2009, when she attempted to ride the store's escalator.

"Plaintiff Lois I. Knight was riding on the escalator when the escalator jerked and malfunctioned and caused her to fall with great force and violence, thereby greatly injuring herself as alleged herein," the suit states.

In addition to her injuries, Knight sustained great physical pain and mental anguish and incurred medical costs because of her fall, according to the complaint. She also lost her ability to perform her usual activities, endured disability and disfigurement and lost her normal life, the complaint says.

Knight blames the defendants for causing her fall, saying they negligently failed to properly maintain the escalator, failed to timely repair the escalator, failed to warn customers of the escalator's defect and failed to shut down the escalator for repair.

In her three-count complaint, Knight seeks a judgment of more than $150,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Gregory M. Tobin of Pratt and Tobin in East Alton will be representing her.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-215.

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