Village of Smithton sued by woman injured at fishing derby

Andrea Dearden Oct. 11, 2012, 2:11am

A St. Clair County woman is suing the Village of Smithton after allegedly breaking her ankle at a fishing derby in a city park.

Michelle Dampf Becker filed a complaint Sept. 18 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Tina Ledbetter, doing business as T & J Insurance Agency, and the Village of Smithton.

The alleged injury to Becker's ankle happened Sept. 18, 2011 while she was at a fishing derby at a public park in Smithton, according to the complaint. Becker says she was walking up an incline near a lake when her foot dropped into a grass-covered depression in the ground, causing her to break her ankle.

Becker contends the depression was caused by ruts from tractor tires. She says the Village of Smithton failed to properly maintain the public park and, therefore, caused a hazardous and dangerous condition. Becker describes the town's conduct as wanton and willful negligence.

The Village required the sponsor of the fishing derby, The Smithton Commercial Club, to maintain insurance for the event, the complaint reads. The Village and Commercial Club allegedly entrusted defendants Ledbetter and T & J Insurance to maintain medical pay and liability insurance for the event. Becker claims Ledbetter "did not procure the requested insurance she promised to provide," constituting a breach of agreement that increased the event sponsors' liability.

Becker is asking to be awarded more than $100,000 for pain and suffering, medical expenses, disability, lost wages and loss of enjoyment of life.

She is represented by attorney Michael L. McGlynn of Belleville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No. 12-L-494

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