Beach umbrellas July Ocean City

A U.S. District Court judge dismissed claims against Ocean City this month, which were filed against the resort by a woman who was impaled by an umbrella that was pulled from the sand by a strong gust of wind in 2018. 

A U.S. District Court judge granted a request from Ocean City this week to dismiss claims against the resort made by a Pennsylvania woman who made national headlines in 2018 after a stray beach umbrella impaled her while she tanned on the beach.

Jill Mendygral of Kingston, Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit against the city and 85 ‘N Sunny, a local umbrella company, in June, seeking more than $75,000 in damages stemming from the incident, which occurred on July 22, 2018.

That day, just after 3 p.m., the Ocean City Beach Patrol responded to an incident near 54th Street, when an unattended rental umbrella pierced Mendygral’s upper chest.

As a result, she was loaded onto a helicopter and flown to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury and treated for her injuries.

The injuries suffered included a chest wound that required surgery and led to pelvic pain, recurring numbness in her right arm and hand, fevers, gross hematuria, radiating back pain, adjustment disorder, depression, and anxiety.

In the lawsuit, Mendygral argued the city and umbrella company were responsible for the care of the beach at the time of the incident. As part of those responsibilities, she claimed the city was responsible for monitoring the forecast, wind gusts, and ensuring umbrellas are unfolded into the downward position to prevent them from being pulled out of the sand and flying into the air.

On the day of the incident, witnesses said a sudden gust of wind lifted the umbrella into the air with the wooden pole crashing downward into Mendygral’s chest.

In July, Ocean City filed papers with the courts to dismiss Mendygral’s single claim against the resort for negligence.

According to court documents, Mendygral claimed that Ocean City allowed a known “dangerous condition” to exist on the beach, failed to warn her that the dangerous condition existed, and failed to “inspect the beach” during windy conditions.

In its response to dismiss the claims, the city said Mendygral failed to clearly state a claim against the city, and that it had governmental immunity with regards to the incident.

Also, no employees were named as defendants, and no judgement was entered against any city employees.

Siding with the resort, the judge dismissed the claims against Ocean City.

This story appears in the print version of Ocean City Today on Jan. 21, 2022.

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