Woman sues school board for injury in auditorium

May 10, 1992

An Ellicott City woman has filed suit against the county Board of Education, claiming that she suffered serious head injuries when she sat on a defective chair in a county high school auditorium.

Rebekah Bates-Handshu and her husband, David, of the 4500 block of Alpine Rose Bend, are seeking $200,000 in damages from the school system on grounds of negligence.

The couple claims that school officials failed to repair the broken seat in the auditorium and failed to provide a warning that the seat was broken.

According to the lawsuit, Bates-Handshu entered the auditorium Wilde Lake High at 11 a.m. May 6, 1989 to see her daughter rehearse for a dance recital.

Walking sideways into a row of seats, Bates-Handshu sat in a chair with no seat back, the suit states. She fell backward, hitting her head on the seat in the row directly behind her.

The fall caused severe lacerations to her head and scalp, and she has suffered severe pain and permanent injury from the fall, Bates-Handshu said in the suit.

Bates-Handshu says she has spent and will continue to spend substantial amounts of money for medical treatment. She has also lost wages from work because of her injuries, the suit states.

School officials could not be reached for comment.

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