Diocese sued for trip at church bazaar

David Yates Feb. 20, 2008, 7:00am

Leslie Lee Sells Jr. tripped over a handicap ramp while attending a church bazaar hosted by Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church. Sells claims the church was negligent for failing to mark the ramp and has filed a $100,000 suit against the Diocese of Beaumont.

Sells' suit was filed in the Jefferson County District Court on Feb. 19.

According to the plaintiff's petition, on Sept. 10, 2006, Sells was attending a church bazaar at Our Mother of Mercy located at 3390 Sarah Street.

"While going around a tent in the parish hall parking lot, he tripped over the unsloped sides of an unmarked handicap ramp, which had no handrails or other warning of its presence and broke the tibia and fibula bones in his right leg when he lurched forward trying to maintain his balance on the ramp," the suit said. "His injuries required several surgeries and lengthy hospitalizations."

Sells is faulting the Diocese with premises liability, alleging the church failed to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition, inspect the premises to discover latent defects, make safe any defects and give failing to give adequate warning of any dangers.

In his suit, Sells says he has already racked up more than $100,000 in medical expenses. He is suing for actual damages and mental anguish.

Sells is demanding a trial by jury and is represented by Kenneth Lewis of the Bush Lewis law firm.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. B181-263

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