Police officer sues park district over slip and fall incident

By Rhys Saunders | Sep 6, 2013

A Chicago police officer is suing the park district for more than $3 million after a slip and fall incident at Ping Tom Park.

Gregory Matura claims he suffered a herniated disc and nerve damage to his back after slipping and falling on ice March 6 at the park while he was on duty.

Matura filed a two-count complaint Aug. 30 against Ping Tom Park and the City of Chicago Park District in Cook County Circuit Court, claiming the park district was negligent in not removing snow and ice at the park, 300 W. 19th St.

According to the suit, Matura was on duty at the park when he noticed a truant high school student walking near a work study program at a mobile site in the park about 10:30 a.m. At the time, the suit states, construction work was being done at the park.

Matura questioned the Chicago Vocational Career Academy student, who said he was looking for his work study class. Matura and Chicago Police Officer Mary Chan escorted the student to his class, which was located in a mobile unit in the construction area of Ping Tom Park.

The two officers, according to the suit, then tried to drive out of the area when their patrol vehicle got stuck in the snow. Matura radioed for a tow truck.

When the truck arrived, Matura walked toward the rear of his vehicle and slipped. He claims he severely injured himself and was unable to return to work the next day as a result of the fall. A doctor later diagnosed him with severe back injury, the suit states.

“He had suffered damages to wit (a) herniated disc and nerve damage in his back, and would have to undergo surgery,” the lawsuit states. “At the aforementioned time and place, the (park district) had a duty to all invitees, including Officer Matura, to remove snow and ice from their premises so as to prevent them from slipping and falling.”

Matura argues in his lawsuit that park district personnel knew the area was covered with snow and ice, and that people walking to the mobile study unit were at danger when walking on the premises.

He also claims that park district personnel knew that people entering the area could slip and fall if the snow and ice were not removed.

Matura “has become and will be obligated to pay large sums of money and reasonable medical expenses for the attempted cure of said injuries,” and as a result will not be able to fulfill his police duties, the lawsuit states.

His suit seeks a judgment against each of the defendants of more than $3 million. He is represented by Chicago attorney Sammy Ward Lacey Jr.

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