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Law prof who fell from platform at awards ceremony sues school

Posted Feb 28, 2013 9:35 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A George Washington University law professor claims in a lawsuit that she broke her heel after falling from a lecture platform that was “unreasonably small in width and depth.”

International law professor Dinah Shelton says she fell while delivering a 2011 lecture at the University of Denver's Sturm College of Law, Courthouse News Service reports. The law school was honoring Shelton with its Myres S. McDougal Distinguished Lecturer in International Law award.

Shelton says she fell after she stepped back to put a glass of water on the shelf of the podium, according to the Courthouse News account. "Defendants' raised platform did not take into account the expected, planned, reasonable and foreseeable movements of Professor Shelton as she gave her lecture,” the suit alleges.

Shelton says in the suit that her professional obligations as a consultant in the field of international law and human rights often involve travel to distant or remote locations. “Many destinations involve walking on uneven ground, sitting for extensive periods of time and limitations on movement,” the suit says. “The foot injury has made it more uncomfortable and painful for Professor Shelton to meet her professional obligations.”

The foot injury has also made it difficult and painful for Shelton to negotiate her law school campus, which “consists of a number of buildings and lots of stairs,” the suit says.

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