Civil trial planned for ‘slip on ice’ complaint

PINEDALE – A Pinedale woman who slipped on ice outside a bank in February 2019 has a six-person jury trial scheduled to begin on Monday, Feb. 20, 2023 in 9th District Court.

Sharon Bien filed her civil complaint on May 28, 2021, with the claim that the sidewalk was covered with ice outside the Bank of Jackson Hole/ Bank of Sublette County, at 807 W. Pine St., court records show.

The Town of Pinedale’s municipal code calls for owners of any buildings within town limits to keep adjoining sidewalks clean “and, after any fall of snow, shall cause the snow and all slush and ice to be removed immediately from the sidewalk” into the street’s gutter, the complaint says.

Bien, an accountholder at the Bank of Sublette County, was approaching the bank’s entrance and “slipped on ice that had accumulated in front of a downspout directed toward the sidewalk,” it says.

When Bien slipped, she twisted her back, heard “a loud popping noise and felt excruciating pain in her spine,” it says. Bank employees helped her into a chair once Bien made her way inside. She told them she had hurt herself while trying to prevent a fall, she said, and employee Pat Schaub said “she ‘must have missed a spot,’” the record shows.

Schaub said she would file a report with the bank and notify her superiors, it says.

After finishing her bank business, Bien sought medical attention for “pain … so severe that she could not negotiate a single step of a staircase without direct assistance from another person.”

Bien continued to feel excruciating pain while walking, tying her shoes, working as a special education teacher and conducting “day-to-day tasks,” it says. An orthopedic surgeon recommended an operation to fuse three discs and install “hardware” that took place in Idaho Falls on July 17, 2019. Complications continued that affected Bien’s ability to sit, stand and even sleep or coach a swim team, it says, and Bien was not rehired for her full-time position for 2019-2020 “because she apparently sat too much,” it says.

The complaint names “negligence leading to loss of wages, quality of life, medical expenses and seeks to have damages paid to compensate her for losses plus unspecified punitive damages to hold the bank accountable as determined by the court.

The pretrial conference is set for Jan. 16, 2023 at 11 a.m. in 9th District Court. The six-person jury trial is scheduled to begin on Monday, Feb. 20, 2023, records show.



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