Madison - St. Clair Record

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Madison County claims it has immunity in a lawsuit alleging a woman and her baby fell into a manhole

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Jun 23, 2015


Madison County alleges immunity and seeks to dismiss a mother’s lawsuit claiming she and her baby were injured when she fell into a manhole.

Shelia DeBoise filed the May 8 lawsuit against Madison County, the City of Madison, its Department of Public Works, Venice Township, Metro East Sanitary District, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Manuel Foschiatti and some unnamed owners.

According to the complaint, DeBoise claims she stepped on a manhole cover on Foschiatti’s property on May 11, 2014, while returning home and carrying her baby. She claims the cover flipped and caused her to fall into the manhole. She alleges her baby was thrown from her arms and struck her head on her own fall.

The lawsuit states that the mother suffered a leg injury, pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages and benefits and disability. It states that her baby suffered injuries to her face and head, pain and suffering and additional medical expenses.

Madison County filed a motion to dismiss on June 11 through attorney Stephen Maassen of Hoagland Fitzgerald & Panaitis in Alton.

Madison County alleges immunity from liability based on the local Government and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act.

“[T]he County cannot be held liable for failing to inspect or negligently inspecting property other than municipally-owned property,” the motion states.

The plaintiffs seek damages in excess of $400,000, plus costs.

Julia Kerr of Brown & Crouppen in St. Louis represents the plaintiffs.

The City of Madison and Metro East Sanitory District is represented by Julie Koerner of O’Halloran, Kosoff, Geitner & Cook in Northbrook.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-583

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