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Woman impaled by umbrella in Ocean City three years ago sues town, beach rental business

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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