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Illinois woman reaches settlement after fall in church’s parking lot


An elderly Illinois woman who tripped and fell in the parking lot of her church reached a $120,000 settlement, according to her Missouri-based attorney.

Scott Kehlenbrink of Reinoehl Kehlenbrink in Arnold said Sharon Forney sustained a fractured jaw, which was surgically repaired and had to be wired shut for a period of time. She also suffered superficial lacerations on other parts of her body.

In a lawsuit filed in Illinois’ Marion County Circuit Court in 2020, Kehlenbrink argued that the condition of the parking lot was due to the proximity of the asphalt section to the central drain. He said the condition had been there for quite some time.

He also said his client was a frequent user of the parking lot and had traversed the area immediately prior to the return trip to her car when she tripped over it.

Earlier this year, Evergreen Christian Church filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that the condition was open and obvious, but the plaintiff prevailed in May. The settlement was reached soon after.

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Premises liability

Venue: Marion County, Illinois, Circuit Court

Case Number/Date: 2020-L-17/Aug. 1, 2022

Plaintiff’s Expert: Dr. Michael Edwards (dental)

Special Damages: $86,000 charged medical. Approx $13,000 paid. No lost wages.

Insurer: State Farm

Caption: Sharon Forney v. Evergreen Christian Church

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Scott Kehlenbrink, Reinoehl Kehlenbrink, Arnold

Defendant’s Attorney: Jack Kiley, Erickson, Davis, Murphy, Johnson & Walsh, Decatur, Illinois