Heather Isringhausen Gvillo Nov. 1, 2013, 12:52pm

A Fairmont City gas station blamed for a customer’s trip on steps denies the allegations against it and demands a trial by jury.

According to the complaint filed on Aug. 12, plaintiff Robert O’Neal claims he visited defendant Fairmont Phillips 66 gas station on Sept. 7, 2011, and fell on an “inherently dangerous” step at the front of the building as he was attempting to leave.

Shri Satya Sai Baba and Phillips 66 are also named defendants.

O’Neal accuses the defendants of failing to ensure that the property was safe, failing to adequately warn of an immediate step down in front of the door, allowing a step to be positioned in a threshold of an exiting door and placing advertisements on the lower glass of the exiting door, which prevented customers from seeing the drop.

The defendant filed its answer denying the allegations on Sept. 16 through attorney Jonathon Brereton-Hubbard of Thompson & McDonald in St. Louis.

They also filed five affirmative defenses claiming the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by his own negligence for failing to keep an adequate lookout and encountering a hazard he should have known was there.

“Plaintiff was warned of the subject step through the use of warning signs and yellow paint that contrasted the step from the surrounding area,” the motion states.

O’Neal seeks a judgment of more than $100,000 in his two-count complaint.

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert LeChien scheduled a mandatory status conference for Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m.

Thomas O. Falb of Williamson, Webster, Falb and Glisson in Alton is representing the plaintiff.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 13-L-419

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