Slippery handrail contributes to woman's fall and $400k lawsuit

Kelly Holleran Jun. 2, 2011, 2:18am

A St. Clair County woman and her husband claim the woman sustained injuries to her hands, left knee, back, spine, head and face after falling on stairs leading to her rental residence.

Flora Smith and Floyd Cruz filed a lawsuit May 6 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against State Realty Property Management Company, Mary Ann Pospeshil Trust and Mary Ann Pospeshil.

In her complaint, Smith claims she exited the door of her rental property at 194 Liberty Dr. in Belleville on Sept. 8 when she attempted to use the handrail and fell.

Smith does not elaborate on how she fell, but does say the defendants installed an inadequate, short and slippery handrail.

In addition to her injuries, Smith incurred medical costs; sustained great pain, mental anguish and disability; and lost her normal life, according to the complaint.

Because of his wife's fall, Cruz incurred medical costs and lost his wife's services, affection, society, companionship and consortium, the suit states.

Smith places blame on State Realty Property Management Company and Mary Ann Pospeshil for causing her fall. The company and Pospeshil own the rental property and negligently carried out a voluntary undertaking to repair the safety of the stairs, made unsafe repairs to the stairwell, failed to use ordinary care in carrying out work, installed a slippery handrail and installed a handrail of insufficient length, according to the complaint.
In their 11-count complaint, Smith and Cruz seek a judgment of more than $400,000 and an amount equivalent to their incurred medical costs, plus costs.

Steven E. Katzman of Katzman and Associates in Belleville will be representing them.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-229.

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