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Woman Slips, Falls, Sues Darien Housing Authy.

A woman broke a tooth and suffered multiple bruises after catching her foot in a grassy area that sunk down about eight inches, her attorney said; the housing authority is disputing the lawsuit in court.

Attorneys for the town are scheduled to meet with a local woman who is suing the Darien Housing Authority after stepping into a weather-damaged sidewalk at one of its complexes more than two years ago and suffering a broken tooth, ankle injuries and bruises on her eye, lip, face, hand, finger, back and neck.

Lorraine Vernal is seeking $15,000 for the June 4, 2010 incident at Darien’s Old Town Hall Houses—a 25-year-old complex on the Post Road that includes 30 apartments for low-income seniors.

“Basically, what happened was there’s an area near one of the buildings and the sidewalk comes out parallel to the street and she was walking on the sidewalk and there’s grass in the area where she was stepping that sunk down like eight inches and she caught her foot in there and tripped,” said Eric Reinken, Vernal’s Stamford-based attorney.

Following the suit filed June 6, Reinken is scheduled to meet with the housing authority and its attorneys at a May 1 pretrial conference.

Darien Housing Authority Chair Jan Raymond declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

The lawsuit's complaint says Vernal was walking in front of Unit 23 at 719 Post Road (see map) "when she stepped into a depression that was formed as a result of untreated weathering of the sidewalk/walkway and grassy area around it."

In its Sept. 6 answer to the lawsuit, the housing authority’s attorneys—North Haven-based James G. Williams and Ryan J. McKone of Wlliams, Walsh & O’Connor LLC—deny negligence. They say Vernal sustained injuries because she didn’t keep a proper lookout, wasn’t wearing proper footwear and could have avoided a problem.

In addition to the broken tooth and bruises, Vernal’s arthritis has been agitated as a result of her fall, according to the complaint.

Editor's note: This article originally was published at 5:57 a.m. The timestamp has been changed for layout purposes on the Home page of Darien Patch.

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