BEAUMONT — On numerous occasions, area resident Shayla Myers visited Tugboat Island and never had any trouble strolling around the park prior to allegedly tripping over an uneven plank and injuring herself, according to a city of Port Neches motion for summary judgment.
Seeking punitive and exemplary damages, Myers filed a complaint against Port Neches in May 2017, nearly two years after the trip and fall took place, alleging the operator of a city park failed to provide a safe premises for its invitees.
On July 3, 2015, Myers was visiting Tugboat Island, a public park in Port Neches.
While exiting the park, Myers' foot hit an uneven plank and she fell on her right knee – sustaining “severe and disabling injuries” that caused physical pain, mental anguish, lost wages and medical expenses, according to the lawsuit.
And while Myers maintains Port Neches failed to provide a reasonably safe walking area, the city believes otherwise, filing a motion for summary judgment in October stating she admitted to visiting the “park two to four times per month” and “had not ever had any trouble walking or tripping” on any other prior occasions.
In fact, the city’s motion goes on to state Myers “had walked into the park before the day of the incident using the same route and did not have any problems” and nor is she “aware of anyone else ever having a problem in the walking area where her incident occurred.”
Myers has also not ever seen anyone else trip over the alleged uneven plank and did not report the condition to the city prior to the incident.
The motion also contains testimony from Taylor Shelton, public works director for the city, who says during his 17 years of service he only recalls two accidents at Tugboat Island and neither involved a trip and fall on the walkway in question.
On Feb. 20, Myers filed a motion for continuance on the city’s motion for summary judgment, stating that depositions were still needed and that her motion “is not for delay, but so justice may be done.”
Port Neches is asking the court to dismiss all of Myers’ claims, as it is entitled to governmental immunity.
The city is represented by Frank Calvert, attorney for the Beaumont law firm Calvert Eaves Clarke & Stelly.
Myers is represented by attorney Byron C. Alfred of Vujasinovic & Beckcom in Houston.
Jefferson County District Court Case number A-199997