Whirlpool sued over woman's backward fall onto dog cage

Kelly Holleran Oct. 17, 2011, 4:41am


A woman seeks more than $500,000 after she says she sustained injuries when a handle disconnected from her refrigerator, causing her to fall onto a metal dog cage.

Donna Coleman filed a lawsuit Oct. 6 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Whirlpool Corporation; Sears, Roebuck and Co.; Sears Protection Company; and Sears Authorized Homestores.

In her complaint, Coleman alleges she purchased a Kenmore refrigerator manufactured by Whirlpool on Oct. 21, 2002. Within a few years, though, the refrigerator developed stress cracks. Because her initial refrigerator was still under warranty, Coleman was able to get a replacement Kenmore refrigerator in March 2005, according to the complaint.

On Oct. 8, 2009, Coleman was attempting to retrieve food from the replacement refrigerator when the handle broke off, causing her to fall backward onto a large metal dog cage and floor, the suit states.

Because of her fall, Coleman sustained severe and permanent injuries, suffered disfigurement and experienced physical and mental anguish, the complaint says. In addition, she claims she incurred medical costs.

Coleman blames the defendants for causing her injuries, saying they negligently allowed the handle to break from the refrigerator, failed to equip the replacement fridge with an adequate handle and failed to adequately assess the risk of the handle disconnecting from the fridge.

In her 12-count complaint, Coleman seeks a judgment of more than $600,000, plus costs.

Stephen C. Buser of the Law Office of Stephen C. Buser in Columbia and William P. Gavin of Gavin Law Firm in Belleville will be representing her.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-567.

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