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Couple sue Spokane Arena over fall at a concert in 2013

The Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena is seen from the air Tuesday, Mar. 11, 2014. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
The Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena is seen from the air Tuesday, Mar. 11, 2014. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Carleen Kenfield went to the Spokane Arena in 2013 hoping to see the Tran-Siberian Orchestra. What she got instead was four years of surgeries, physical therapy and constant pain.

Kenfield, 60, and her attorney, Lloyd Herman, have filed a $1 million suit against the Spokane Public Facilities District, which manages the Arena, following a fall on Nov. 22, 2013, that Kenfield believes caused her ongoing health problems.

“I have just chronic pain in my neck and shoulder and nerve damage all the way down to my elbow,” Kenfield said. “It’s just horrific.”

The incident occurred as Kenfield, then 56, and her husband, Tim, arrived at the Arena for the concert. As they approached the entrance that led to their seats, a group of people were drinking beer from open cups. Someone spilled beer onto the ground.

As Carleen Kenfield stepped into the spill, her feet slipped and she fell on her trunk and banged her head on the concrete.

“I left in an ambulance,” said Kenfield, who works for Option Care in Spokane Valley to make sure patients file the proper insurance paperwork. She said she was treated and released from the hospital the night of the fall.

“I woke up in the morning with excruciating pain. It was more pain than I could bear,” she said.

Her husband, Tim Kenfield, farms in Montana. But his wife’s continual pain has made it difficult to leave home for the 460-mile trip he drives to the farm.

“At the beginning, I stayed home and took care of her. This woman can damn near outwork me. But not anymore,” he said. “We’d just like somebody to be responsible for what happened.”

Carleen Kenfield has already racked up almost $315,000 in medical bills, including back surgeries and a surgery on her shoulder that has not alleviated the underlying problem, according to court records. She’s worked throughout her agony.

The Kenfields’ insurance company has paid the bulk of the costs, except for scores of co-pays. Herman said the Public Facilities District has not yet assigned an attorney to represent it in the case.

“I love working. It’s been my whole life. I’ve worked since I was 15,” she said. “But this whole thing has just ruined my life. Right now I’m practically shaking with pain in my arm.”

The couple hope by filing the lawsuit that they can get the medical help they need to fix whatever is causing the daily pain.

“We’ve lost so much over this,” she said. “That’s what I would like to have, is no pain.”


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