By Associated Press - Friday, June 20, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The city of St. Paul is set to approve a $124,000 settlement for a woman who tripped over a snow-covered tree stump in the middle of a sidewalk.

Judy Steffenhagen, 69, of Lake City, claimed she had sustained “injuries to her body and nervous system” and “suffered great mental and physical pain and anguish” in the Dec. 2011 fall, according to the Pioneer Press ( ).

“A small amount of snow fell, masking the ability to see the stump when she (Steffenhagen) was on the sidewalk, and she tripped on it and fell,” said her attorney Jeremy Stevens.

The dollar amount “was reached during a negotiated settlement,” City Attorney Sara Grewing said Thursday.

According to the settlement agreement, the city denies liability. The lawsuit didn’t detail her injuries. Stevens said he couldn’t elaborate without his client’s permission.

The stump was in a circular tree well in the middle of the sidewalk, Stevens said. The city had cut the tree, but a lip of 2 or 3 inches remained “for a significant period of time,” he said. Grewing said she didn’t have information about when the tree had been cut down.

The city council is scheduled to approve the settlement Wednesday.

When the settlement is approved, it will mark the second largest the city has paid this year, behind a $1 million settlement to the families of two children killed and one injured in a landslide in Lilydale Regional Park in 2013. The council also has approved paying $144,000 this year to settle four other lawsuits against the police department.

Last year, the city paid almost $1.7 million in claims and litigation costs.


Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press,

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