New Life in Christ Church sued by member who falls on frozen water

By Kelly Holleran | May 13, 2009

A woman claims she will have to undergo surgery to her right knee after she fell on frozen water outside a Lebanon church.

Vernetta Clayton filed a lawsuit May 7 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against New Life in Christ Church.

Clayton, a member of the church, says she was walking on the sidewalk leading to the church's entrance on Jan. 28 when she fell on ice.

"Plaintiff states that for a long period of time prior to plaintiff's fall herein mentioned, defendant did maintain a bed of shrubbery adjoining the location of her fall and that the surface of said bed sloped toward the sidewalk permitting moisture to run onto the sidewalk and accumulate thereon and to become frozen subject to the weather conditions," the suit states.

Because of her fall, Clayton suffered bruises, contusions and abrasions to her body, suffered from hyper-extended fingers to her right hand and wrenched, strained and sprained her right knee, according to the complaint. She also suffered a tear of the meniscus of her right knee, will incur medical costs for the surgery she will have to endure on her knee and experienced a limited ability to work, labor, earn income and enjoy life, the complaint says. In addition, Clayton claims she has lost income.

According to court records, the church negligently maintained the shrubbery in such a way that water would accumulate on the sidewalk, failed to clear the sidewalk of ice, failed to provide salts to melt the ice, failed to warn Clayton of the ice and failed to rope off the sidewalk.

Clayton is seeking a judgment in excess of $50,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Brian Stokes of The Stokes Law Firm in St. Louis will be representing her.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-232.

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