Lawsuit: Home Depot fires woman after steel door falls on her

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Feb. 13, 2013, 11:21am

HOUSTON - Claiming she sustained "significant, life-altering" injuries while working at The Home Depot in Katy more than a year ago, Patti Darby has filed a lawsuit. 

Court papers filed Feb. 6 in Houston federal court allege a large steel entry door and four large carpet pad rolls fell on Darby at the store on Dec. 14, 2011.

Darby, who had worked 22 years for Home Depot, was working in the receiving department as a return-to-vendor associate prior to getting hurt.

She states that she just retrieved a small fiberglass ladder when she heard a noise and "was violently struck."

"The force of the impact knocked her to the ground and caused her legs to spread out in a contorted fashion," the suit says.

According to the original petition, the part of the receiving department where the event occurred was intended for defective and "to be returned" items.

The carpet pads were new merchandise that was erroneously placed and standing upright in storage racks while the large steel door was leaning against the racks, the suit states.

The plaintiff asserts the defendant "removed (and failed to replace) a cable that was being used to secure the carpet pads in the storage racks at some point prior to the incident in question."

The original petition points out, Darby "was in immediate, excruciating pain, covered by the door and pads and unable to get up."

The plaintiff was taken to Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital where she was confined for a week. Physicians diagnosed her with "multiple" fractures of the pelvis and sacrum, the suit says.

Darby adds she was hospitalized for another two weeks at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital in Sugar Land.

Home Depot fired her on Dec. 15, 2012, "due to her inability to physically perform her job duties."

The original petition ultimately blames the respondent for negligence and premises and vicarious liabilities as well as evokes the writ of respondeat superior.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Mike Johanson with Johanson & Fairless LLP in Sugar Land is representing Darby.

Case No. 4:13-CV-304

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