Court hearing set in Canadian County lawsuit over woman’s fall

City of El Reno, Canadian County Commissioners deny negligence in civil case


By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

EL RENO – A court hearing is set in a woman’s negligence lawsuit against Canadian County and El Reno officials.

Mustang’s Pamela Smith, represented by attorney Terry L. Pierce of Norman, is suing Canadian County Commissioners and the City of El Reno over injuries she sustained nearly two years ago after stumbling and falling near the county jail.

The City of El Reno, through attorney Robert Jay Jones Jr., recently filed a motion for summary judgment in the case. A hearing is set Friday, April 23 before Canadian County District Judge Paul Hesse.

El Reno claims the woman’s fall “was nothing more than an unfortunate accident” and the plaintiff’s claims “are without merit,” according to a brief that El Reno’s attorney filed March 17 in Canadian County District Court.

“The undisputed facts of this case demonstrate that there is no actionable negligence on the part of El Reno with respect to maintaining the sidewalk at Evans Avenue and Rogers Street.”

Smith on April 10, 2019 was walking from the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office to the county jail to get fingerprinted for her concealed carry license when she tripped over “broken and uneven sidewalk” at the corner of Evans and Rogers, according to the civil suit.

The plaintiff fell on her right hand and broke five bones, suffering disfigurement and permanent limitation of the use of that hand, the petition reads.

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.”

The woman is seeking a judgment “in excess of $75,000” for her injuries and damages: Physical pain, disfigurement and suffering; mental pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages.

The lawsuit was filed April 16, 2020 about six months after the City of El Reno denied Smith’s $125,000 tort claim.

Canadian County Commissioners, represented by attorneys Stephen L. Geries and H.R. Moon, Jr., also have denied wrongdoing.

In the commissioners’ formal answer to the suit, their attorneys wrote that Smith’s fall and injuries “were the result of her own negligence.”

Canadian County Commission Chairman Jack Stewart strongly contends that commissioners aren’t at fault in this case.

“We don’t maintain sidewalks,” said Stewart, the District 3 commissioner. “It should not affect the county in any way, shape or form.”

Canadian County Commissioners have denied they were negligent, also stating in court documents they are “exempt from liability under the Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act.”