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Woman seeks $665,000 after falling in county courthouse

MONTESANO — A Grays Harbor County woman, who entered the historic courthouse in Montesano while responding to court business and slipped and fell, is now seeking $665,000 in damages from the county for the injuries she says she suffered.

Deana Stengel, who is represented by Elma attorney Chris Crew, filed the claim for damages against the county on April 29, according to records turned over to The Vidette.

The claim states that Stengel came into the courthouse on a busy Monday morning on Dec. 17, 2012 at about 8:45 a.m., when she stepped off some carpet and on to the wet floor.

“She slipped and hyper-extended her leg causing her other leg to hyper-extend and then she fell on the floor hitting her knee, hip and shoulder,” according to the claim for damages. “After her fall, she was taken to Grays Harbor Community Hospital. She injured her knee so severely it required surgery that she’s currently recovering from.”

The claim for damages states that security at the courthouse witnessed the fall. She only has Medicaid and no other insurance, according to the claim.

Crew, the attorney, says that Stengel is still recovering from the injuries. Crew notes that the county has since placed carpeting at the entrance way to the courthouse that stretches to the metal detector and screening areas. “But that wasn’t there before,” Crew said. “That came after she fell and this is probably the reason it’s there.”

Before Crew can sue the county, state law requires a claim for damages be submitted.

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