Author Topic: Sembler's Being Sued  (Read 1256 times)

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Offline webdiva

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Sembler's Being Sued
« on: January 18, 2008, 02:42:51 PM »

 ST. PETERSBURG - A year ago, Josiah Wineberger was just another rambunctious 3-year-old who liked riding his tricycle and eating ice cream.

Then, on a family trip to BayWalk in February, a large stereo speaker fell 20 feet and landed on Josiah's head. The blow shattered his skull and left him with severe brain damage.

Now, after a year of therapy sessions and a struggle to recover, Josiah's family is suing the Sembler Co., which owns and runs BayWalk.

"Sembler had a duty to use reasonable care in the presentation of live concerts," the lawsuit says. "Sembler was negligent and breached the above described duties."

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, also blames Jane's World Entertainment and members of Hart, Jackson and Watson, the band that was performing the night the speaker fell.

Jane McKee of Jane's World declined to comment, and band members could not be reached for comment.

"In all of our discussions with Josiah's family, our focus has been the care and recovery of Josiah, and that continues to be our main concern," the Sembler Co. said in a statement. Sembler declined further comment.

It remains unclear why the speaker, which was perched on a speaker stand above the courtyard area of the center, fell.

The lawsuit seeks compensation for the injuries suffered by Josiah, now 4, and the distress suffered by the Wineberger family. It says that Sembler failed to follow proper procedures to ensure public safety and didn't provide adequate monitoring at BayWalk during the concert.

John Wineberger, Josiah's father, has lost his job in electronics and now sells hot dogs three nights a week. The family had to move into a cheaper apartment. Josiah now has therapy sessions for about two hours every day, four days a week.

The blow from the speaker, which weighed between 40 and 70 pounds, left him without feeling in his right hand. Josiah has had to learn how to become left handed, how to recognize colors, how to tie his shoes.

Because parts of his head are still sensitive from the blow, Josiah has to wear a helmet. His parents say he has severe mood swings.

"He'll never be 100 percent again for the rest of his life," said John Wineberger, 36, at a press conference Wednesday morning.

John Bales, the attorney representing the Winebergers, said the family had already racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical costs and therapy for Josiah.

He said the family, which didn't have health insurance at the time of the accident, has paid the costs so far through programs such as KidCare. Costs for the rest of Josiah's life would run into the millions of dollars.

Bales would not comment about the family's interactions with BayWalk, saying only that the Winebergers felt it was necessary to file a lawsuit.

"The family needs answers, and unfortunately the only way they can find answers is by filing a lawsuit today," Bales said.

Zenaida Wineberger, 28, Josiah's mother, said it had been difficult watching her son struggle the past year.

"He's not able to do the things he used to," she said. "It's been a really long year."
« Last Edit: January 20, 2008, 08:52:33 PM by webdiva »
RIP Steve Matthews and all those we have lost along the way!