Phila. woman who suffered manhole fall sues city and state

By Jon Campisi | Apr 23, 2012

A Philadelphia woman who claims she suffered a whole host of bodily injuries after falling through a defective manhole in the city’s Frankford section has filed a personal injury lawsuit against the city and state.

Denise Johnson’s lawsuit also names as a defendant the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

The complaint, filed April 19 at Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas by attorneys with Philadelphia-based Messa & Associates, claims that the defendants were negligent in not ensuring that the manhole at Frankford Avenue and Margaret Street was safe for pedestrian travel.

According to the complaint, Johnson was walking down the street back on May 5, 2010, when she suddenly fell into the collapsed manhole, causing her to sustain serious and permanent injuries.

The defendants, the suit states, had “actual and/or constructive notice of the dangerous and hazardous condition” created by the collapsed manhole and failed in their duty owed to pedestrians to exercise reasonable care in the inspection, maintenance and repair of the area of the street in question.

As a result of her fall, Johnson, who was 46 years old at the time, suffered injuries including an ankle sprain and fracture, hand and knee contusions, abrasions over her entire body, nervous shock and an aggravation of pre-existing conditions.

Johnson also allegedly suffered anxiety, mental anguish and severe physical pain as a result of the incident.

The suit states that Johnson has had to spend large sums of money on medical attention, including for surgery, and that she has suffered a loss of earning power due to her inability to work following the incident.

Johnson seeks damages in excess of $50,000 from each of the three defendants named in the civil action. She also demands interest, costs and attorney’s fees.

A jury trial has been demanded.


The case ID number is 120402274. 

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