Portsmouth woman loses trial after suing city, claiming fall in Parrott Ave. parking lot

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PORTSMOUTH — A Rockingham County jury returned a verdict in favor of the city of Portsmouth during a trial of a lawsuit brought by a local woman who claimed she was hurt when she tripped in a pothole in the Parrott Avenue parking lot.

The jury in the case took just 30 minutes to deliberate, according to City Attorney Susan Morrell.

“That is a very fast verdict in my experience,” Morrell said.

The Parrott Avenue parking lot in Portsmouth.

The Parrott Avenue parking lot in Portsmouth.

City resident Robin Rousseau’s 2019 lawsuit was tried this week in Rockingham County Superior Court. Rousseau is a former member of Portsmouth’s Zoning Board of Adjustment.

In the lawsuit, Rousseau claimed she suffered a “permanent injury” from a fall in a hole in the Parrott Avenue parking lot in March 2016.

The lawsuit alleged Rousseau parked her car and “fell upon a large pothole/gouge in the pavement causing significant personal injury to her body,” as she was walking home.

The lawsuit alleged “gross negligence/bad faith” and stated the city has a duty to maintain the lot in a safe and usable condition.

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Morrell said during an interview Wednesday that Rousseau “didn’t report any injuries to medical personnel for a substantial period of time,” after the incident allegedly occurred.

“The city’s position is that any injuries she had had nothing to do with a supposed fall on city property. We’re very satisfied with the result, and we believe it was an appropriate result,” Morrell said about the verdict.

Primex, the city’s liability insurance provider, hired the attorneys who represented the city during the trial and in pretrial proceedings, Morrell said.

Representatives of the city’s Legal Department were “present during depositions and mediation, and monitored the proceedings,” Morrell said. “We’re the client essentially. We’re consulted all the way through.”

The two sides picked a jury on Monday, and testimony started then, followed by a half-day Tuesday.

The case went to the jury early Wednesday afternoon, Morrell said.

“It was very short, there were not very many witnesses and then the jury only deliberated for about a half an hour,” she said.

Christopher Seufert, Rousseau’s attorney, could not be immediately reached for comment.

This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Portsmouth wins trial over alleged Parrot Ave. parking lot fall

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