Another missed-step trial against Christus begins

David Yates Nov. 17, 2008, 10:00am

Last year, Christus Health Southeast Texas was hit with a $700,000 jury verdict for failing to paint a yellow hazard stripe on a parking garage step. Two weeks after receiving the favorable verdict, plaintiff's attorney Tim Ferguson filed another unmarked step suit against the non-profit hospital.

The trial resulting from the second suit, Charles English vs. Christus, began Monday, Nov. 17, in Judge Bob Wortham's 58th District Court.

In August 2007, a jury ordered Christus to pay Flo Wilson, who had missed her step and broke her hip while in the St. Elizabeth parking garage, more than $700,000 in damages. Wilson was represented by Ferguson.

On behalf of English, Ferguson filed a similar suit against Christus and Allco Inc. with the Jefferson County District Court on Sept. 6, 2007.

Allco, who had built the hospital's parking garage, settled out of the suit.

For the second time in 13 months, Christus will attempt to convince a jury that people who come to the hospital have a duty to themselves to look where they're stepping.

According to the plaintiff's petition, on Oct. 3, 2006, English went to St. Elizabeth to visit a patient. While in the parking garage, "English was severely injured when he fell on an unmarked curb."

The suit faults the defendants with failing to paint a yellow caution stripe on the step, failing to provide adequate parking garage lighting and failing to follow city and state "uneven steps" regulations.

English is asking the jury to award him exemplary damages, plus past and future medical expenses, physical pain, mental anguish, disfigurement and impairment.

Case No. A179-969

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