A man and his wife have filed a complaint against the city of East St. Louis, Allen's Package Liquor and Lounge and its owner, alleging the man was forced to have surgery after he tripped on an uneven sidewalk.

Eddie and Traci Burks claim Eddie Burks was leaving Allen's Package Liquor and Lounge located at 1820 Broadway in East St. Louis on May 3, 2008, when he fell on a sidewalk in front of the store.

Because of his fall, Eddie Burks was forced to have surgery on his left ankle and left leg, incurred injuries to his back and head and incurred medical expenses, according to the complaint filed May 1 in St. Clair County Circuit Court. In addition, Burks sustained disability, disfigurement, great pain and mental anguish, lost his normal life and missed numerous working days, the suit states.

Traci Burks says she has lost her husband's services and has been deprived of his affection, society, companionship and consortium. She has also been prevented from attending to her usual duties and affairs and has incurred medical costs on her husband's behalf, according to the complaint.

East St. Louis was negligent by failing to keep its sidewalk in a safe condition, by allowing its sidewalk to be broken, uneven, unlevel, chipped and cracked and by allowing a sharp drop off between Allen's Package Liquor and Lounge and the sidewalk, the Burks say.

The city also negligently failed to inspect the sidewalk where Eddie Burks fell and to keep it in good condition, failed to repair the area of disrepair and failed to post warning signs of the dangerous condition of the sidewalk, according to the complaint.

Allen's Package Liquor and Lounge and its owner, Larry Allen, were negligent by failing to provide a safe entrance and exit, by failing to keep its exit in a safe condition, by maintaining a steep drop-off from its exit to the sidewalk, by failing to post warning signs of the steep drop-off and its adjacent sidewalk and by failing to maintain its property, the suit states.

In the nine-count suit, the Burks are seeking a judgment in excess of $300,000, plus a reimbursement of their medical expenses and court costs.

Steven E. Katzman of Katzman and Associates in Belleville will be representing them.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-224.

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