Girl severs tendon while going through glass at restaurant, guardian sues

David Yates Jun. 22, 2007, 3:38am

While picking up a meal at a restaurant, Lauren Abigail Hoffpauir's arm went through a glass window, severing a tendon.

The girl and her guardian, Steve Hoffpauir, are suing Mexican Restaurants Inc. and Gregory Greenfield and Associates for not abiding by the building code. The Hoffpauirs contend if the window had been safety glazed, Lauren's arm would not have been so severely injured.

The plaintiffs filed their personal injury suit with the Jefferson County Court of Law No. 1 on June 15. Judge Alfred Gerson will preside over the case.

According to the plaintiffs' original petition, the Hoffpauirs could not have possibly known about the dangerous condition, and it was the responsibility of the defendants to remedy the condition or at least inform the plaintiffs.

The suit does not give specifics on how the incident happened or even when the incident occurred. However, the suit does state that the "defendants are guilty of negligence per se because they violated the Standard Building Code, which requires windows to be safety glazed when the glazing is larger than 9-square feet in area and the lowest edge of the glazing is less than 18 inches to the floor or walking surface."

"The reason for this requirement is that when non-safety glazed glass is broken, it breaks into large pieces that can cause injury," the suit said. "As a result of the occurrence above described, the plaintiff suffered severe personal injuries causing plaintiff to sustain permanent bodily impairment and scarring."

The plaintiffs are seeking a sum of money in excess of $50,000.

The are demanding a trial by jury and are represented by attorney Jill Chatelain of the McPherson, Monk, Hughes, Bradley, Wimberley & Steele law firm.

"In May of 1999, Chatelain tried the case of Mark Umphrey v. Fina, a case brought under Texas law that prohibits an employer from discriminating against employees who have been injured on the job and avail themselves of their rights under Texas Workers' Compensation law," the firm's Web site said. "Chatelain received a jury verdict of $2,400,000. At the time of the verdict, this was the largest jury award in the State of Texas in this type of case."

Case No. 108-350

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