Ocean City beach

The beach at Ocean City.

A woman who was impaled by a beach umbrella in Ocean City three years ago has sued the town and umbrella business, claiming their negligence resulted in grave injuries.

Jill Mendygral, of Kingston, Pennsylvania, was lounging on the beach on her first day of vacation when an umbrella was swept up by gusts of wind and impaled her chest, according to the federal lawsuit, filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for Maryland. The complaint seeks more than $150,000.

Rescuers cut off the end of the umbrella, leaving the tip in her chest until a Maryland State Police helicopter could transport her to a hospital.

As a result of being “violently” stabbed by the umbrella, the lawsuit claims, Mendygral required surgery for the chest wound it left behind, yielding “permanent disfigurement of her chest.” To this day, she has back pain and pelvic pain, numbness in her right arm and hand, and a range of mental health conditions, among other ailments, the complaint alleges.

Her lawyer, Eric S. Lickstein, of Rice, Murtha & Psoras in Lutherville, argues none of her injuries or trauma would have occurred if not for the negligence of the Town of Ocean City or the business responsible for the umbrellas, 85 ′n Sunny LLC, a company that rents umbrellas, beach chairs, boogie boards and more.

The complaint names Patrick J. McLaughlin, resident agent of the beach rental company, as well as Matt James, president of the Ocean City Town Council.

McLaughlin declined to comment. A spokesperson for Ocean City did not respond to requests for comment Friday afternoon.

The complaint alleges that the business and the town allowed a hazardous and dangerous condition to persist by failing to warn people of the dangers of leaving an umbrella open in the wind and failing to inspect the beach while a wind advisory was in effect.

85 ‘n Sunny, the lawsuit claims, also consciously left umbrellas open during a wind advisory, when they “should have known that doing so posed an unjustifiably high risk of serious injury.”

The lawsuit seeks more than $75,000 each from the town and the business, damages meant to make up for Mendygral’s lost pay and future earning capacity, as well as hospital bills and future medical treatment, embarrassment, humiliation and loss of everyday pleasures and enjoyment of life, the complaint alleges.

Copyright 2021 Tribune Content Agency.

(5) comments

TomWheatley

If the lawsuit was sooner than 3 years later and the lawyer not taking a cut, I might agree to some of this. But we don't know the distance the umbrellas were away, how much time one gets to see umbrellas flying in the wind, etc.

Dwasserba

Poor woman, this is terrible, but read this paragraph aloud to someone else as I did, the one including “... or the business responsible for the umbrellas, 85 ′n Sunny LLC, a company that rents umbrellas, beach chairs, boogie boards and more.” It’s impossible not to sound like a commercial and we laughed ourselves to tears on hearing it. We’re awful. Please don’t sue us.

joelp77440

Not sure how the town is responsible?

newspostreader

Not really sure how anyone is responsible. It is a horrible unfortunate situation, but sometimes things like this happen. Sue Mother Nature if you're looking to sue someone.

BlueFredneck

Would the 'reasonable man' stature apply here? I mean if it's blowing 30+ mph and there were wind warnings, etc., and I refuse to close any umbrellas, etc., then yeah, that's sort of on me.

This is the sort of case where a jury can find the town X percent responsible, the company Y percent responsible, and the woman Z percent responsible. The duration of the warning, the policies the city and company had in place, the woman's behavior (e.g. if she were drunk, or opened a bunch of umbrellas that had been closed, she'd be more responsible), and the company's actions once warning had been given all matter here.

Of course for $150k there is a hope of a quick settlement.

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