Woman sues GW for $200,000 after falling off a riser

A woman is suing GW for injuries she allegedly sustained after falling off a riser at the Mount Vernon Campus’ black box theater nearly three years ago.

Michelle McManus, a Maryland resident, filed a civil complaint against GW on Friday, asking for $200,000 to cover “medical expenses, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost wages and other damages,” according to D.C. Superior Court documents. She still has symptoms of a concussion from the incident, McManus’s lawyer said.

A hearing for the case is scheduled for the beginning of January 2016, according to the documents, which also show that Murray requested a six-person jury.

McManus, a content specialist at the Boeing Company according to her LinkedIn page, declined to answer questions about the complaint. University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar declined to comment on the case, citing a University policy to not comment on ongoing litigation.

McManus was attending a performance on Nov. 10, 2012 in a “dimly lit” theater in West Hall when her chair at the the top level of a riser fell off the right side, causing her to fall to the ground, according to the documents.

“As a result of the fall, McManus struck her head on the hard floor and sustained serious, permanent and debilitating injuries,” the documents read.

GW acted negligently at the time by not properly lighting the room, failing to mark the edges of the risers, not attaching the chairs to the riser and placing the chairs too closely together, according to the documents.

GW did not comply to “simple safety regulations,” Kasey Murray, McManus’s attorney, said.

“This is an accident that was easily preventable,” Murray said.

Murray, who is a 2012 alumna of GW Law School, said D.C. laws tend to side with the person filing the lawsuit in cases where there is a safety violation. She said McManus could not be liable for any actions that could have contributed to the accident because of the safety conditions.

“It’s always a good situation when you have a case where there are clear safety violations,” Murray said.

Murray said she and McManus sent two letters to GW to notify them of the incident and try to “work this out amicably without filing a lawsuit,” but they did not receive a reply from the University.

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