N.Y. woman sues outdoor shopping village for concussion from falling on icy path

By Jim Boyle | Nov 12, 2014

A popular Bucks County tourist attraction has been accused by a New York woman who

says the lack of preparation for snowy and icy conditions led to her slip and fall outside a boutique shop, causing her to suffer major brain trauma, according to a personal injury suit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Bernadette Van Sise, of Staten Island, N.Y., seeks compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $75,000 from Peddler's Village, located in Lahaska, Pa., with administrative offices in nearby Doylestown. The company oversees operations of a large, outdoor shopping village that is a favorite destination for specialty, hand-crafted items, especially during the holiday season.

Peddler's Village is situated on a hilly landscape, with brick pathways separating the numerous stores and restaurants.

According to the complaint, on Dec. 8, 2013, Van Sise was traveling on one of those walkways, in front of the Mole Hole, a co-defendant in the civil action, when she slipped on a patch of uneven snow and ice and fell backwards. The claim says that Van Sise lost consciousness and was tended to by a passerby who happened to be a volunteer EMT. Her husband retrieved an orthopedic collar from the couple's car and placed it around her neck, the complaint says.

The claim says that 911 was called, and four ambulances arrived to the scene. However, each of the respondents had been dispatched for separate slipping incidents throughout the village, according to the complaint. An employee from Peddler's Village also slipped and fell while on his way to assist Van Sise.

Van Sise was transported to St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne, Pa., and diagnosed with a concussion. She experienced persistent dizziness, headaches, sensitivity to light and sound, the claim says.

According to court documents, Van Sise began to have small seizures in February 2014, followed by feelings of confusion and severe head pain. Medical testing confirmed that she had suffered a brain bleed, and a neurosurgery appointment was scheduled.

Before she could make her appointment, however, Van Sise suffered a more severe seizure and had to undergo emergency surgery to relieve the pressure. Following the procedure, the plaintiff continues to exhibit post-concussion symptoms, such as sleeplessness, confusion and personality changes.

Peddler's Village and the Mole Hole have been accused of negligence for failing to pretreat the uneven walkway in advance of the predicted snowfall. Both defendants had a duty to create safe and secure passage for business invitees, the claim says. According to the complaint, Peddler's Village had a responsibility to maintain the brick walkways and ensure they were free of potential hazards, especially during inclement weather.

The plaintiffs are represented by Michael van der Veen in Philadelphia.

The federal case ID is 2:14-cv-06488-LDD.

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