Failure to replace light bulbs caused mother's death, suit claims

By Ann Knef | Apr 30, 2007

The administrator of Idamae Schanuel's estate has filed a wrongful death suit against the apartment owner and manager of the South Point Apartments in Belleville.

Janet L. Schnipper, Schanuel's daughter, claims her mother fell down a set of steps after she brought dinner to a tenant of the apartment on Dec. 12, 2006. Schanuel was permanently injured and died Dec. 22, 2006, according to the suit filed May 1 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

"As Idamae Schanuel departed the apartment she attempted to descend the stairwell of the building from the second floor to the first floor which was provided for the common use of tenants and their visitors and in doing so, fell down the stairs, proximately causing the injuries complained of in this complaint," the suit states.

The building is located at 5908 Gateway Industrial Dr. and is held in a land trust. Defendant George L. Moore is the trustee. Co-defendant Donald W. Brown, doing business as State Realty Property Management, managed the apartments.

The suit claims the defendants failed to replace burned out light bulbs at the top and bottom of the stairs, knowing that they had been out for a substantial length of time.

Seeking in excess of $200,000 in damages, Schnipper is represented by George R. Ripplinger of Ripplinger & Zimmer in Belleville.

The four-count suit alao seeks damages for survival action.

"By reason of the wrongful death of decedent, the surviving children have been deprived of the felicity, care, attention, guidance, comfort and society of decedent and of the valuable services which decedent was accustommed to perform for them and they have been deprived of large sums of money and valuable services which decedent was accustomed to contribute and render to them and would have continued to contribute and render but for her death, all to the damage of plaintiff," the complaint states.

Schanuel has two other adult children in addition to Schnipper, David Schanuel and Susan Huffman, the suit states

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