NEW CUMBERLAND - Hancock House, the recent target of a negligence lawsuit, has installed fencing and signs around the parking lot where a resident said she fell nearly two years ago.
Hancock House resident Mildred Moninger, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, said the work was done on Wednesday. "It's a godsend that the fence is going up," she said.
Along with the fencing, which surrounds the part of the parking lot that borders a steep embankment, are signs that instruct motorists to not back into the parking spaces.
Moninger said she backed into a space on Sept. 16, 2011, and was unloading groceries from her back seat when she fell down the embankment.
"The weeds were grown up and stuff. I had never parked over in that area before," she said. "All I did was take one step back, behind that cement thing you pull up to ... and fell straight backwards. The first 20 feet was nothing but cement and old gravel. I flip-flopped, slid every which way. I was hurt from head to toe."
Moninger said it was 10 months after her fall before she thought about getting an attorney. "I went to the (Hancock County) commissioners and Sheriff Mike White to try to get a hold of the people who owned the building. Their phone calls were not returned," she said.
Represented by attorney M. Eric Frankovitch, Moninger filed the lawsuit earlier this month, charging Hancock House with failing to take proper care of the premises the day she was injured. According to the lawsuit, Moninger "was caused to fall due to hazardous conditions permitted to exist" by Hancock House, 720 Third Ave., New Cumberland.
Moninger, who has lived at Hancock House for three years, said the installation of the fence is "a start" but that other improvements are needed. She declined to elaborate.
Hancock House attorney April Wheeler, of Wheeling, filed a response denying the charges this week. The response asks for the case to be dismissed, claiming that it is vague and fails to state a legal claim under which relief can be granted.
Moninger said she suffered internal injuries from the fall and is still recovering. "I'm going to be OK," she said. "I just want to make sure everything's going to be OK for everybody who lives here."
The eight-floor Hancock House is managed by Colonial American Development Corp., of Columbus, Ohio, and provides housing to low-income senior citizens and people with disabilities.
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