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Jury sides with woman who tripped on water meter

A Jackson County jury found the Raytown Water Company liable for $1 million in damages for after an Independence woman tripped over a loose water meter cover outside her rental home.

Sheila Smith sued the water company in December 2020 after injuring her left leg and ankle and right leg in a fall eight months earlier. Plaintiff’s attorney Kenneth Kinney said his client suffered a trimalleolar fracture of her left ankle, for which there is a “permanent component.”

According to the suit, the protruding meter cover was in the front yard of Smith’s rental home at 13008 E. 51st Street Terrace South in Independence. The meter had been read several days before Smith’s fall, the complaint says.

The jury delivered its verdict at the close of a two-day trial. Judge Kenneth Garrett III reduced the final award to $990,000 to account for $10,000 in medical bills the defendant previously made.

According to court records, the defense asked the judge to reduce the verdict even further. But the motion was denied, and the judgment has been satisfied.

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$1 million verdict

Personal injury

Venue: Jackson County Circuit Court at Independence

Case Number/Date: 2016-CV17885/Dec. 7, 2022

Judge: Kenneth Garrett III

Caption: Sheila Smith v. Raytown Water Company

Plaintiffs’ Attorneys: John Turner, Turner, Sweeny & Seaton, Kansas City; Kenneth Kinney, Ralston Kinney, Kansas City

Defendant’s Attorneys: Christopher Seibold and Emma Bean, Brown & James, Kansas City


Update: This post has been updated to show that the judgment has been satisfied.