A Keene woman and her husband are suing the city three years after she says she fell between dumpsters at the transfer station.
Carolyn and Richard Campbell filed a complaint June 25 in Cheshire County Superior Court, in which they requested a jury trial.
At the transfer station and recycling center off Route 12, several dumpsters for trash sit in an alcove about 7 to 8 feet below an elevated parking area, according to the complaint. Residents park their vehicles above and toss trash into the dumpsters below, with the openings at about ground level.
The Campbells allege in the lawsuit that, on June 27, 2016, Carolyn fell into the opening between the dumpsters and onto the concrete below.
She sustained multiple injuries, according to the complaint, including facial fractures, a concussion and injuries to her neck, knee and shoulder. Carolyn Campbell spent nine days in recovery at Cheshire Medical Center, the document says, and underwent physical therapy afterward.
In their complaint, the Campbells describe in detail the area around the dumpsters and argue that the city acted negligently in failing to design and maintain safe conditions for users.
The complaint notes that there are gaps several feet wide between the dumpsters, as well as a space of “several inches or more” between the ledge and the dumpster, forcing people to toss their trash into the bins.
Although the dumpsters have no barriers to prevent people from falling, the complaint points out that other areas of the transfer station do have such protection, particularly railings at the recycling facility.
While the dumpsters don’t have walls or barricades, the document says, there are concrete parking bumpers along the ledge to keep cars from backing up too far. These parking bumpers are about 3 to 4 inches high and aren’t painted any color to make them more visible, which “constituted a trip hazard,” according to the complaint.
There were no signs warning of a trip hazard or the dangers of falling, the complaint says, and “the dumpsters were completely unattended.”
With all of this considered, the Campbells assert that they are owed compensation for injuries, suffering, emotional trauma, financial damages and the loss of spousal care.
The city has yet to submit a response to the complaint.