Sidewalk spill leads to $120,000 settlement

sidewalk spill

The site of the 2011 accident today.

Photo by: Mark Reutter

The city is set to pay $120,000 to settle the case of a woman who toppled off a sidewalk in Ednor Gardens three years ago, resulting in two surgeries and loss of employment.

According to the Law Department, Anita Stevens was walking on a sidewalk on Ednor Road near its intersection with East 36th Street on or about May 10, 2011.

“Stevens contends that she stepped on the north end of the concrete blocks on the sidewalk, not realizing that it was depressed in relation to the block off which she stepped,” the law department wrote in its settlement memo.

The change in elevation caused her to lose her balance and fall to the pavement, resulting in injuries that led to two surgeries and permanent impairment.

The woman filed a lawsuit seeking $500,000 from the city.

“Because of disputed factual and legal issues in the case and given the uncertainties and unpredictability of jury verdicts, the parities propose to settle this matter for a total sum of $120,000 in return for a complete dismissal of the litigation,” the law department wrote.

The settlement will go before the Board of Estimates tomorrow. The panel, headed by City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, invariably approves settlements presented by the legal department.

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  • davethesuave

    the facts are too vague to allow a cogent response, but i have a queasy feeling that won’t stop some of us. So here I go: my initial baseless thought is “did she not see the dip”? and does the city get sued on a weekly basis for incidents like this? if not, why not? there must be trip hazards all over Baltimore? so the (known) fact that they settled tells me her case had merit; and perhaps that her injuries were severe. at least we know the problem in this particular spot is fixed. that’s something.
    (PS: either that house is leaning worse than that nightmare in Pisa, or maybe the city could get that light pole a little more plumb?)

  • KnowNothingParty

    Has that sidewalk been repaired yet? I’ll meet everyone there tomorrow for a short walk, slight fall, and a short trip – to the bank. If the city law department cant beat this frivolous case why have a law department.

  • Matthew Riesner

    Isn’t it the property owner (not the city) that is responsible for the condition of the sidewalk? She probably would have got next to nothing from a property owner’s insurance company if the city passed the buck.

    • asteroid_B612

      It’s convoluted — the City has made the property owner responsible for shoveling snow on sidewalks, picking up litter, and paying for sidewalk repairs. However, the City is potentially responsible for injuries that occur in public rights-of-way if it has knowledge of a specific problem and doesn’t correct it, fails to put up a sign warning of the problem, or has created the problem (adjacent property owners have no responsibility for injuries unless they created the hazard ). The City has no responsibility for the condition or maintenance of alleys. In all cases, citizens have the responsibility to look where they are going, take appropriate precautions for their own safety, and assume the risk of walking in snowy or other conditions that affect everyone.

  • snarkycomments

    Sounds like a scam to me.

  • ushanellore

    I can’t believe it–this certainly sets a bad legal precedent. Watch for other similar cases–folks will step off curbs and crash on their backs and butts to get the city moving on compensation. The woman should have looked before she leaped. However severe her injuries if the city rolls over and capitulates, as it has, others will try their luck too. Does it make sense to get injured to sue and make money? Anything is possible and to fake injuries or to develop conditions that are purely subjective that too is possible. Cities should fight these kinds of suits all the way to the courts to deter abuse.

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