A broken Cleveland sidewalk leaves woman with broken ankle

Posted at 6:00 AM, Sep 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-27 09:32:42-04

It was supposed to be a night of fun with friends and some Cleveland Indians baseball. However, it turned into anything but fun for a University Heights woman.

Dena Katch loves her Tribe, but doesn't love what happened after a recent game.

"As we were walking in the crowds, all of a sudden I was just down,” said Katch as she was sitting on her couch. She now has a broken ankle, a banged up knee and a badly bruised hand.

Katch said the culprit was a sizable break in a sidewalk on East 9th Street near Bolivar Road right in front of the 900 Prospect parking garage in downtown Cleveland.

"It needs to be fixed,” said Katch. “It's crazy that it's not fixed...and even the fact that it's not fixed, at least put a cone there."

Funny she should mention that. 5 On Your Side Investigators did a Google street view search of that sidewalk and found it had the same defect with an orange cone near it. The date of the photo is September of 2016.

"I know I'm not the only one that this has happened to," Katch said. 

Shortly after she posted her injury pictures on Facebook, a friend replied: "I helped a lady that fell from that same spot yesterday." Plus, we found Linda Dist in her wheelchair near the sidewalk. She told us she nearly fell down at that bump before.

So, what's the law say about sidewalks?

"Any defects that they know about, they have to maintain,” said Attorney Ladi Williams, who works in Cleveland. He told us there’s a sidewalk rule that states if the break is more than two inches, then you could have a good case of liability against the business. Plus, the Google street view picture is interesting.

“The orange cone shows a level of knowledge,” said Williams. “Somebody put it there. It didn't get there by itself."

We went back to show Katch the 2016 Google street-view picture we found. She gasped. “That's really wrong. That's wrong. That is shamefully wrong.”

Geiss Properties owns the parking garage. We talked with Al Crist who's the Senior VP. He said he would look into it right away. At last check, there are now large cones at both ends of the slab.

In the meantime, Katch is in disbelief. "It could have been prevented. Ridiculous."

The City of Cleveland tells 5 On Your Side Investigators the garage owners have not been cited before for sidewalk issues but they will be cited for the current problem.

Katch has obtained an attorney.

Crist from Geiss Properties thanked News 5 for bringing this to his attention.