Injured Texas Gambler Sues Bingo Parlor for $1 Million after Fall over Wheel Stop
A local resident of Denison, Texas filed a lawsuit against an area bingo parlor after she had a bad fall over one of its wheel stops. The woman says the wheel stop, used by certain businesses in place of a curb, was painted black and therefore unidentifiable after sunfall.
The woman at the center of the lawsuit, Ruth Johnson, loves to play bingo. She told KTEN News, “It’s kind of like visiting all your friends.” Her favorite location is a Sherman bingo hall called “Flamingo Bingo”. On this particular night, Ruth decided to leave before the end of the games.
Left Bingo Parlor at Last Call
As the last Caller’s Choice game of the night was being called, Ruth Johnson made her way to the parking lot. Ms. Johnson said she preferred not to gamble on the final game, saying, “I never win it anyway.”
When she got to the parking lot, Ruth Johnson made her way past all the rest of the wheel stops, which are long blocks of concrete which don’t use the rounded edges most wheel stops use. When she got to the final wheel stop, Ruth tripped over it.
Ruth Johnson’s Violent Fall
The final wheel stop was painted black, at least before Flamingo Bingo removed it. She told the television reporter, “I went right over it and down like a ton of bricks.”
Ms. Johnson remained in that position until found by friends moments later. Her friend, Kathryn Clements, said, “I stubbed my toe on that second one right there (pointing to a wheel stop) and bounced against the wall, because I seen yellow on the ground and I said, ‘Oh my God, that’s Ruth'”.
Shoulder Replacement Surgery
Friends called an ambulance, which took Ruth Johnson to Texoma Medical Center in nearby Denison. A few weeks later, she underwent shoulder replacement surgery at Baylor Medical in Dallas, which is about one hour south of Sherman/Denison. That was two years ago.
Johnson says Medicare and Tricare were paying her medical bills at first. She was happy to let the health care system take care of the payments, and insists she has no interest in monetary gain from the lawsuit. The suit was the idea of Medicare. In fact, Medicare insisted on the filing.
Medicare Demanded Lawsuit
Ruth Johnson said, “Then all of a sudden, I get a letter from them [Medicare] that I would be responsible for all those hospital and doctor bills if I didn’t go after them.”
Mary Bradshaw, Ms. Johnson’s lawyer, says Flamingo Bingo knew the black wheel stops were hazardous. Bradshaw said, “A manager had told Ruth’s husband that his own mother had previously tripped over it.”
Lingering Medical Issues
Johnson’s lawyer told the news that the pain and discomfort her client feels will never go away. She goes to physical therapy to regain mobility in her shoulder, but the treatments are painful and she’s likely to never regain full mobility. Ruth Johnson said, “I can move it that far, but I can’t get it up to do my hair. I’ve got screws and I’ve got, it looks like they’ve put me together with bailing wire.”
Flamingo Bingo’s Statement
When KTEN News contacted the owners of Flamingo Bingo, they said that any business can become the target of a slip-and-fall lawsuit. Jana Hicks Taylor, a spokesman for the bingo parlor, gave this statement to the news: “Flamingo Bingo is investigating Ms. Robinson’s claims. Flamingo Bingo has operated in Sherman, Texas for over 25 years and is committed to providing a positive experience for all of its customers.”
Because Texas does not have legalized gambling, outsiders might assume Texans do not enjoy gambling. In fact, gamblers in the part of Texas containing Sherman/Denison enjoy gambling a great deal, and have a ready supply of casinos nearby. Chocktaw Casino in Durant, Oklahoma is only 20 miles from Denison, Texas, in what’s called the Texoma Region. The Winstar Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma is only 40 miles away. These two Indians casinos, owned respectively by the Chocktaw and Chickasaw Indian tribes, have some of the largest gaming floors in the world.