HUNTINGTON COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) - A Warren woman has taken the first steps in filing a lawsuit over the downtown Warren building collapse. Her attorney is seeking $700,000 after she allegedly fractured her wrist while evacuating during the collapse.
On July 5, hundreds of people were in downtown Warren for the Salamonie Summer Festival parade when part of an old building collapsed. At the time, the Huntington County Sheriff’s Department said no one was seriously hurt.
But according to a notice filed by the Ken Nunn Law Office, the incident injured Mary Benson. Ken Nunn, spokesman for the law offices, said Benson was getting pushed around by the crowd trying to get away from the debris. She was then pushed to the ground which fractured her wrist.
Nunn’s office filed a tort claim on October 14 trying to figure out who is at fault for the collapse. The claim writes the collapse was a result of negligence by the:
- Town of Warren
- Warren Police Department
- Warren Town Council
- Huntington County Sheriff
- Huntington County Commissioners
- Huntington County
- State of Indiana
“I know who’s at fault,” Nunn told NewsChannel 15 over the phone. “It’s either the owner of the building or the city and the county. Somebody dropped the ball. You don’t let the downtown buildings collapse.”
Nunn continued, “The city and the county have a duty and an obligation to inspect buildings whether they’re occupied or abandoned if a building’s ready to fall. It’s their job to look at it.”
Nunn didn’t want Benson to speak to NewsChannel 15, but said he called her Wednesday morning.
“She hurts. Her wrist is throbbing today. It’s throbbing because of the weather change,” Nunn said. “There’s been no surgery or intervention yet. It’s still broken and it’s healing.”
The claim said Benson already has medical expenses. But in standard procedure, Nunn is seeking the maximum amount the law requires, $700,000, because he doesn’t know what Benson’s medical expenses will be in the future. According to the claim, Benson “has also experienced physical pain and mental suffering and will experience physical pain and mental suffering in the future.”
Mike Hartburg is the town of Warren’s attorney. He said the town received the claim. It’s been submitted to the town’s insurance provider to investigate who’s at fault.
The town has 90 days to file a response. Hartburg said if no response is filed, the town denies any liability. Hartburg had no other comment because of the pending investigation.
Ultimately Nunn thinks the building owner is at fault for letting the building get to that point. But instead of directly filing a lawsuit, he filed the tort claim to cover all the possibilities.
“I’m a little shocked the building would be allowed to deteriorate to that point. Where’s the county or city?” Nunn asked. “They should have been doing something.”
In the paperwork, Jan and Mark Weight are also listed to be involved in the incident.
The following negligence claims are listed in the paperwork:
- Negligence in the design, construction, upkeep, repair or replacement of building structures
- Negligence in failing to take the proper steps to correct the obvious defects at this location where the above named parties had actual knowledge or notice of a dangerous condition
- Negligence in design, construction, upkeep, repair, and maintenance of this location
- Negligence in failing to divert or re-route festival and/or parade activities from a dangerous location
- Negligence for lack of positive guidance at this location
- Negligence in failing to restrict access on or around dangerous structures
- Negligence in failing to properly evaluate, discover and inspect potential dangerous structures
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