A Pennsylvania woman who made national headlines in 2018 after a stray beach umbrella impaled her while she sunned herself on an Ocean City beach is seeking monetary compensation from the resort.
Jill Mendygral, a resident of Kingston, Pennsylvania, filed a lawsuit last week against the city and local umbrella company 85 ’N Sunny last week in U.S. District Court asking for more than $75,000 in damages stemming from the July 22, 2018 incident.
According to reports, the Ocean City Beach Patrol responded just after 3 p.m. that day to the beach near 54th Street when an unattended rental umbrella had pierced Mendygral’s upper left chest area. She was later helicoptered to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, where she underwent emergency surgery.
The lawsuit claims the city and umbrella company were responsible for the care of the beach at the time of the incident, which included adequately monitoring the forecast and wind gusts and folding umbrellas in the downward position so they were unable to become dislodged from the sand, ensuring the safety of those using the beach.
According to the filing, Mendygral suffered a chest wound that required surgery, and led to radiating back pain, gross hematuria, pelvic pain, recurring numbness in her right arm, recurring numbness in her right hand, fevers, adjustment disorder, anxiety and depression.
On the day of the incident, reports said witnesses claimed a sudden wind gust lifted the umbrella skyward, with the wooden pole eventually crashing downward into Mendygral’s chest. Multiple rescue agencies worked in tandem to address the horrific injury, including securing and stabilizing the stick of the umbrella until Mendygral could be taken to the hospital for treatment.
This week, Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan referred all comments about the lawsuit and incident to the city solicitor, Bruce Bright.
“The city has been aware of this incident since it occurred,” Bright said in an emailed statement. “The city has now been formally served with the lawsuit by the plaintiff’s counsel. It has been and continues to be the city’s position that it has no liability at all in regard to the incident, and the city intends to defend the case on that basis. We have no other comment at this time, since this is a pending litigation matter.”
According to the town code, Ocean City has a franchise system in place to rent beach equipment, including umbrellas. An ordinance mapping out the details of the agreement and rules and restrictions for the business owners does not make mention of weather or wind conditions for setting up umbrellas.