A federal judge ordered the U.S. government yesterday to pay about $222,000 in damages to a 30-year-old FBI nurse who was permanently injured when an 800 pound concrete sewer cover fell on her leg three years ago.
The woman, Julianne Leneweaver, was standing on a corner at New Jersey Avenue and Independence Avenue SE., when the sewer cover was struck by a bus, thrown into the air and landed on her leg.
In a written opinion, U.S. District Chief Judge William B. Bryant said the U.S. was liable for the damages because it maintained the street corner in question and should have repaired the sewer slab in a manner that would have prevented it from being thrown into the air.
Bryant noted that a U.S. Capitol policeman had reported the concrete sewer slab was "broken" and that a "dangerous condition exists" about two months before the accident in which Leneweaver was injured. No action was taken on that report, however, Bryant noted in finding against the government.
The judge said medical testimony at the trial established that Leneweaver had a 25-30 per cent permanent disability of the left leg that curtails her work and recreational activities, and that she therefore no longer can expect normal advancement in government nursing jobs.
He said the government must pay her $125,000 for pain and suffering $50,000 in lost future earning capacity, -30,000 for "other disavantages suffered as a result of the permanent disability," and $17,18.03 in out-of-pocket exxpenses for medical and other care.