MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A young girl slipping at Mall of America has led to a lawsuit and a call for better cleanup procedures.
Rakiyia Houston was 10 years old when she slipped near a food court. So far, the mall has refused to pay for what some doctors consider to be lasting injuries.
Her stumble comes first, in the middle of a crowded south food court. It happened on a Saturday night in the summer of 2010. Rakiyia Houston is 18 now, but remembers it well.
“I was walking back toward the party and I slipped and fell on clear liquid,” she recalled.
Court documents say medical teams at Mall of America treated her for a sprained knee that put her on crutches for months, and recent doctors’ notes suggest lasting problems that have sidelined her from the sports she once played.
“I’ve tried, but the pain is just too much,” she said.
Michael Healey represents Houston in her lawsuit against the mall.
“She had to give up a lot as a result of this permanent injury so it’s sad to see,” Healey said.
The focus isn’t so much on what happened to his client, but what happened next. Surveillance video shows four minutes after Houston’s slip — another woman falls. Seconds after that one, a mop is wheeled in. A sign then goes up but several feet from the original spot. Then, a small boy falls right next to the sign.
That’s three people down in a matter of nine minutes, according to the video.
“I think we would all hope the problem gets fixed right away,” Healey said.
Mall of America responded with this statement:
“The safety of our guests at Mall of America is always our top priority. Upon receiving notification of the spill MOA housekeeping staff responded to the location in under one minute to clean and mark the area.”
So far, the mall has said it won’t pay for Houston’s injuries denying any wrongdoing.
“I think it’s wrong and not right,” Houston said.
Minnesota allows six years for filing a personal injury lawsuit. A jury trial in this case is scheduled for September.