Canadian County, El Reno deny fault in woman’s fall

Claim no negligence, liability in court-filed responses to lawsuit

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By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer

EL RENO – Canadian County and El Reno officials deny fault in court-filed responses to a woman’s lawsuit over alleged injuries sustained in a fall near the old county jail.

Pamela Smith, through her Norman attorney Terry L. Pierce, sued Canadian County

Commissioners and the City of El Reno this spring in Canadian County District Court. District Judge Paul Hesse is handling the case.

The plaintiff brought the civil suit after an incident that allegedly occurred on April 10, 2019 when Smith went to the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office to get fingerprinted for her concealed carry license.

As Smith walked toward the county jail for fingerprinting, she allegedly tripped over broken and uneven sidewalk in front of the old jail building at the corner of Evans and Rogers.

The woman fell on her right hand and broke five bones, suffering disfigurement and permanent limitation of the use of that hand, her lawsuit alleges.

Smith and her attorney believe Canadian County and El Reno should have maintained and repaired the property so it “does not present a hazard to her and other persons invited to walk upon it,” according to the suit.

The Board of Canadian County Commissioners has denied it is negligent in this case.
“The plaintiff’s fall and injuries were the result of her own negligence,” according to the board’s response to the lawsuit.

“The proximate cause of plaintiff’s alleged injuries is due to her failure to use ordinary care for her own safety.”

Canadian County Commissioners’ answer was filed May 28 by attorney W.R. Moon, Jr. of Oklahoma City.

If the court determines that county commissioners were negligent, its attorneys claim the plaintiff’s negligence exceeded that of the defendant.

County commissioners have asked that Smith’s lawsuit be dismissed.

El Reno city officials, through their attorney, also claim no liability or negligence.

“The City of El Reno denies that its actions caused plaintiff’s fall and injuries,” according to the City’s official response.

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“The plaintiff’s injuries were the result of her own negligence or the negligence of others over whom the defendant has no control.”

The City of El Reno’s answer was filed May 11 by attorney Robert Ray Jones, Jr. of Oklahoma City.

The City of El Reno “has no duty to repair or prevent trivial damage to a sidewalk dedicated to the City for public use,” according to its response.

Further, the City “has no duty to repair or maintain a sidewalk created by a third-party that has not been dedicated to the City for public use.”

Plaintiff Smith is seeking a judgment “in excess of $75,000” for her alleged injuries and damages due to the fall: Physical pain, disfigurement and suffering, mental pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages.