Hylla hears Highland woman's case against apartment owner

Christina Stueve Hodges Sep. 20, 2012, 11:00am



Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla is in day two of his second trial this week involving a Highland woman's lawsuit against her apartment owners after she fell and scarred her head on a concrete block in the apartment complex parking lot.

Defendants in the case are Plaza North Condominium Owners Association and Terra Properties which owned and maintained the parking lot.

Plaintiff Barbara Zurliene, 74, who lived at 120 Suppinger, claims she and her family went to an all-you-can-eat crab leg buffet at Argosy Casino on June 25, 2009.

Upon returning home, her left foot caught on a parking block, she claims. She tripped and fell, with her head striking concrete, cutting her head across the forehead which resulted in 28 stitches, she claims.

"She should probably see a plastic surgeon," Plaintiff's attorney Ronald Foster said. "Barb has suffered physical and emotional scars. Before this incident, she took pride in her beauty."

Now her scar hurts her confidence, Foster said.

"Barb will tell you she believes this has aged her," Foster said.

"This is the incident Barbara will tell you did break her emotionally."

Foster said during opening arguments that a professional engineer would explain Plaza North had an inconsistent approach to how they dealt with parking blocks.

Defense attorney Jim Leritz said it was not like the plaintiff was in the woods without lights.

"Evidence will show there was plenty of lighting out there," he said.
"Her son-in-law did not see her. Mrs. Zurliene's son got out of the car and went over to her."

Leritz also said that Zurliene does not plan to have surgery and will not have further medical expenses.

"Mrs. Zurliene has driven all the way across the country," he said. "She remains a very competent, confident woman."

Jerry and Simonne Bolla, doing business as Bolla's Customized Cleaning, were also named in the lawsuit. Their duty was to change out the lights at the parking lot, according to Foster. He said that two lights were burned out at the time of the incident.

The Bollas' attorney John Cunningham said that evidence will show that his clients only involvement was cleaning once a week.

Opening arguments were held Wednesday and the trial continued Thursday with a videotaped expert deposition.

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