Madison - St. Clair Record

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Edwardsville school district settles suit alleging injury from fallen light fixture

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Mar 29, 2016

A Missouri woman has reached a settlement with the Edwardsville school district in a lawsuit alleging she was injured when a loose light fixture fell from the ceiling at the Edwardsville High School and hit her.

In her March 22 memorandum passing cause for settlement, she says she will file a stipulation for dismissal when she has received the funds from the undisclosed settlement.

Heriscene Thompson filed the suit on Nov. 23 against Edwardsville Community Unit School District 7.

According to the complaint, Thompson was at Edwardsville High School inside the auditorium on Dec. 7, 2014. She claims a loose light fixture on the ceiling fell and struck the plaintiff, resulting in injuries to her head, neck and shoulders.

She seeks damages of more than $50,000, court costs and attorney’s fees.

Edwardsville Community Unit School District 7 filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on Jan. 5 through attorneys Donald Ohl and Heather Mueller-Jones of Knapp, Ohl & Green in Edwardsville.

The defendant argues that the complaint fails to adequately state a cause of action because she fails to allege how and why she was an intended and permitted user of the property. It further argues that the plaintiff fails to show that a duty of care existed.

Thompson also filed the complaint in November 2015 but incorrectly alleged she was injured in December 2015.

“Plaintiff cannot sustain a cause of action alleging a future occurrence,” she motion states.

Thompson filed an amended complaint on Jan. 19 through attorneys William Holland and Rachel Lawrence of Goldblatt & Singer in Clayton, Mo. She claims her amended complaint remedies all of the alleged defects in the defendant’s motion to dismiss.

In her amended complaint, Thompson included facts alleging how and why she was an intended and permitted user of the school’s property and provided the correct date of the alleged injury. She claims she was on the property on Dec. 7, 2014, for a concert with Concert Ministries, Inc., which had rented the auditorium from Edwardsville School District.

She also named Concert Ministries, Inc., as a defendant in the suit.

The school district filed another motion to dismiss the amended complaint on Feb. 12, alleging immunity under the Local Government and Governmental Immunity Act.

The defendant also claims the plaintiff failed to allege any duty owed by the school district.

However, the parties later entered into a settlement agreement.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-1527

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Knapp, Ohl and Green