Vendor who fell at Essence Festival files suit against convention center

By Andrew Stevens | Aug 15, 2014

Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

NEW ORLEANS – A vendor participating in Essence Festival claims that due to negligence by the Ernest N. Memorial Convention Center an iron-metal grate gave out under her causing her to fall.

Margaret Johnson filed suit against Ernest N. Memorial Convention Center and American Specialty Insurance & Risk Service Inc. in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on July 9.

The plaintiff claims that she was a vendor participating in the annual Essence Festival held at the Ernest N. Memorial Convention Center.  When she arrived at the convention center, Johnson claims she was directed to a loading dock to unload her cooking equipment by convention center staff. The plaintiff asserts that when she began unloading her equipment part of the iron-metal grate gave out causing her to fall. Johnson claims the iron metal grate’s poor condition caused it to wither away and break as she walked across it.  She asserts that had the defendants properly inspected the area before her arrival they could have warned her of the defect and prevented her fall. The plaintiff claims she suffered multiple injuries from the fall.

The defendant is accused of failing to perform a proper job safety analysis by a certified OSHA regulated inspector, failing to provide a proper area for the vendors to cook, failing to take adequate safety precautions for vendors, failing to warn vendors of the dangers associated with cooking on the loading dock and failing to do continual inspections and maintenance on the loading dock area.

The plaintiff is seeking an unknown amount in damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical expenses, reimbursement for booth rent, reimbursement for hotel cost and lost revenue regarding the event.

Margaret Johnson is representing herself pro se in the case.

The case has been assigned to Division I Judge Piper D. Griffin.

Case no. 2014-06510.

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