Galveston man feels bad, but files personal injury suit against church anyway

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jan. 14, 2009, 5:45am

GALVESTON � A Galveston man is suing a local church for a hip injury he reportedly sustained in early 2007 while performing yard work.

Harvie Collins's personal injury lawsuit, which was filed by League City attorney Jonathan C. Kieschnick in Galveston County District Court on Jan. 8, alleges Compton Memorial Church of God In Christ was aware of a hole in which he tripped and felled.

The complaint explains Collins originally hesitated to take legal action; however, the defendant's insurance carrier's alleged outright denial of his claim prompted the plaintiff to do so.

"Since the plaintiff has maintained a very warm, longstanding relationship with defendant, he files this lawsuit with a great deal of reluctance, anxiety, and trepidation," the original petition states.

According to the complaint, on Feb. 5, Compton Memorial Church of God In Christ hosted Collins as he performed tree maintenance work in a lot belonging to the place of worship.

"While on the property, the plaintiff stepped backward into a hole in the ground which contained a brick protrusion and fell," the suit says.

Collins claims his hip was so badly damaged, it required an operation.

"As a result of the fall, the plaintiff sustained a very serious injury to his hip which necessitated surgical intervention," the suit says.

The plaintiff argues his injury caused him pain, disfigurement, and mental anguish. He adds he has amassed huge medical expenses since his surgery.

The case ultimately accuses the defendant of failing to warn Collins of any potential danger on its property as well as neglecting to get rid of the hole.

"At the time the plaintiff tripped and fell to the ground, the plaintiff did not have knowledge of the condition and could not have reasonably discovered such condition under the circumstances," it says. "The defendant's failures constituted negligence and/or negligence per se and proximately caused the plaintiff's resulting injuries and damages."

Collins seeks actual damages and a jury trial.

Galveston County 56th District Court Judge Lonnie Cox is presiding over the case.

Case No. 09CV0029

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