Woman Sues City for $750,000 for Fall in Park

A Massachusetts woman has sued the city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire for $750,000, claiming that she suffered a severe ankle injury when she stepped into a hole in a city park. Mary Reed and her husband Richard filed the federal suit in the New Hampshire District Court. Reed alleged that as she was walking across the park on June 15, 2011, she stepped into a “deep, grass-covered hole” causing “serious and permanent” injuries, according to her attorney, Peter Hutchins. Her husband is seeking damages for the loss of consortium.

The City asked the federal court to dismiss the suit through William Scott, an attorney for its insurance provider. Mr. Scott cited state law, which grants immunity from liability to landowners who make their property available to the public free of charge. Scott argued that if the court awards her damages, they should be “proportionately reduced in accordance with her comparative negligence.” Reed describes the hole as at least a foot deep and 2 1/2 feet wide, and covered by grass, rendering it unnoticeable. The city, according to Scott, believes the “depression” was at most an inch or two deep and a foot wide.

Reed claims that as a result of her fall, she has suffered “prolonged and continued pain and suffering, severe emotional distress and mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, prolonged and repeated medical procedures, medical expenses and permanenet impairment.” Her husband claims that as a result of the accident, he has suffered the loss of “society, companionship, services and consortum of his injured wife.” Scott contends that Richard Reed is not entitled to any compensation.

The case is scheduled to go to trial on June 18, 2013.