City and park 'friends' group sued for tree stump incident

Jon Campisi Aug. 15, 2011, 7:10pm

A Philadelphia woman who claims she injured herself after tripping over an exposed tree stump at a local park is suing the City of Philadelphia in civil court.

Attorney Keith W. Kofsky, of the Philadelphia firm Clearfield, Kofsky & Peneys, filed the slip-and-fall lawsuit Aug. 12 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Nilvia Hernaiz.

The Friends of Dickinson Square Park, Inc. is named as co-defendant in the lawsuit.

According to the complaint, Hernaiz was visiting the Dickinson Square Park, located on the 1600 block of East Moyamessing Avenue, on Sept. 29, 2009, when, while walking inside the park, she tripped over an exposed tree root/stump that had been protruding from the ground.

As a result of her fall, the plaintiff sustained disc injuries, right shoulder sprain and strain, right knee sprain and strain, elbow pain, multiple facial contusions and abrasions resulting in skin discoloration and permanent scarring, right trapezius myofascitis and other injuries.

Her injuries have required, and will require, the plaintiff to expend various sums of money on medical treatment, the suit states. She has also suffered a “severe loss of earnings and earning capacity and power.”

The lawsuit also claims that Hernaiz has also suffered mental impairment, which, along with her physical injuries, has prevented her from carrying out her customary duties and activities.

“As a further result of the aforementioned accident, Plaintiff, Nilvia Hernaiz, has suffered severe physical pain, mental anguish and humiliation, and may continue to suffer same for an indefinite time in the future,” the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of negligence and carelessness for allowing a dangerous and defective condition to exist on property traversed by members of the public.

The suit also faults the defendants for failing to give warning of the dangerous condition, failing to repair the defective condition, and being otherwise “careless, reckless and negligent, the particulars of which … may be learned at the trial of this case.”

For each of the two counts listed in the lawsuit, the plaintiff demands judgment in an amount in excess of the arbitration limits, or $50,000 in Common Pleas Court.

The plaintiff has demanded a jury trial.

The case number is 110802311.

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