J.C. Penney slow in responding to discovery, Maag says

By Christina Stueve Hodges | Mar 21, 2013

Wood River attorney Peter Maag claims J.C. Penney is delaying his client’s case.

Maag filed a motion to compel March 18 stating the store had not responded to his client's personal injury lawsuit. He also asked the store to answer his written discovery requests within seven days.

The defendant - the J.C. Penney store at the West County Mall in St. Louis - is being blamed for injuries sustained by Carolyn Kelly who slipped on a wet walkway. She filed suit last November in St. Clair County Circuit Court against J.C. Penney Corporation Inc. and Diversified Maintenance Systems LLC.

Circuit Judge Vincent Lopinot signed an order March 18, stating the parties would submit a mutually agreeable scheduling order with a trial date within 30 days.

“This case is being unnecessarily delayed in that, by now, Plaintiff could have had depositions noticed and/or be able to name a product manufacturer as an additional defendant, should defendants know the identity of the product manufacturer requested in discovery,” Maag wrote in his motion.

J.C. Penney and Diversified Maintenance Systems responded to the lawsuit Dec. 26, stating Kelly failed to pay attention to her surroundings and failed to heed a condition which was open and obvious.

The defense also claims the plaintiff created a condition she alleges was dangerous and fell because of her own actions, among other things.

According to the complaint, Kelly was walking on a concrete floor inside the store when she slipped on water condensation. Kelly claims the condensation came from a broken humidifier near the walkway.

Kelly accuses J.C. Penney and its custodial service provider, Diversified Maintenance Systems, of negligence for allegedly failing to maintain a safe area for shoppers. Kelly asks for more than $100,000 in damages and court fees.

John Kemppainen, Jr. and Heather J. Hays of Rynearson, Suess, Schnurbush & Champion in St. Louis represent J.C. Penney and Diversified Maintenance Systems.

St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No. 12-L-612

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