Woman blames store for her injury

March 06, 1994|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Sun Staff Writer

A Westminster woman who says she was injured when she nearly tripped over a department store mannequin platform two years ago is suing Sears for $300,000.

In a two-count suit filed last week in Carroll Circuit Court, Patricia A. Woolston of the 900 block of Hacienda Court says the Sears, Roebuck and Co. store at Cranberry Mall was negligent when it erected a display platform that was the same color as the store's floor.

According to the suit, Mrs. Woolston, 40, was at the store with her daughters the evening of March 27, 1991. The three were shopping for clothes when "some nearby patrons who were also in the store began arguing with each other," the suit says. "The argument grew loud and the language became offensive."

At that point, the suit says, Mrs. Woolston turned around and began to walk away. She didn't notice the raised mannequin platform in front of her, the suit says, and stumbled and nearly tripped, injuring her neck and shoulder.

Ray Wingate, manager of the Sears store in the Cranberry Mall, declined to comment on the suit, saying he hadn't seen a copy of it. "I have no information at all on this," he said.

The near-trip has caused her nearly two years of doctor visits and, in October, surgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, her attorney, William R. MacDonald, said yesterday.

"She has had pain in her neck and left shoulder, and has had to be treated by many, many doctors," Mr. MacDonald said.

Although she didn't fall and the mannequins did not tumble over her, Mrs. Woolston has suffered "great" injury, her attorney said.

The suit blames Mrs. Woolston's fall on Sears because the mannequin display platform is not distinguishable from the floor.

"She was caused to trip over a store display which protruded into the aisle and had been negligently and carelessly placed on the premises by the defendant," the suit says.

The suit seeks $250,000 in damages for Mrs. Woolston and $50,000 for her husband, Gordon Mason Woolston Jr., for loss of consortium.

No trial date has been set.

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