Basinger civil lawsuit settled for $190,000

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Jessie Burchette

Salisbury Post

A Rockwell woman who was severely injured in a fall at the former Salisbury YMCA has agreed to settle a civil lawsuit for $190,000.

Margaret Basinger, 60, a former Rowan-Salisbury School System teacher, was injured on New Year’s Eve 2002 as she and other volunteers were decorating the YMCA for an event celebrating the 250th birthday of the county and the city of Salisbury.

Basinger was dusting the rafters when she fell 20 feet from a ladder, breaking her neck.

She underwent surgery at Carolinas Medical Center and extensive rehabilitation at Charlotte Rehabilitation Hospital.

In her civil suit filed in late 2005, Basinger cited serious, painful and permanently disabling injuries, including injury to her neck, back, hands and legs.

The suit, expanded to include 250 Fest, the organization created jointly by the county and Salisbury to handle the celebration; Rowan County; the city of Salisbury; the YMCA; and Rowan Museum.

The insurance carrier for 250 Fest paid the major share, $146,000.

Rowan County paid $5,000, according to Tony Hilton, who handles risk management for the county.

A Charlotte attorney representing the city of Salisbury declined Tuesday morning to specify the dollar amount paid by the city.

Although such a settlement is public information under state law, Andy Santaniello, with the firm of Clawson and Staubes, said he “would not feel comfortable” in disclosing the amount.

Later Tuesday, Richard Kelly, risk manager for the city, said Salisbury paid $10,000 to settle the claim.

The YMCA, Rowan Museum and two other volunteers who were holding the ladder, Barbara King and Ruth Thomas, the remaining defendants in the suit, paid the remaining $29,000.

Officials at Rowan Museum did not respond to calls.

“We’re happy that a settlement has been reached,” said Jamie Morgan, chief operating officer of the YMCA of Rowan County.

“We’re thankful that Margaret is making progress,” Morgan said, adding that she uses the East YMCA daily, and is a volunteer there. “We are blessed to have her.”

Morgan declined to specify the YMCA’s share of the settlement.

Basinger, contacted at home, declined comment.

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