A woman who was severely injured after an 18-year-old college student fell on her from an eighth-floor Center City window ledge last year has sued the teen's estate, the property companies, and the Art Institute of Philadelphia.
The incident left Erica Goodwin, 45, of Lansdowne, permanently disabled and unable to return to her job at the state Department of Human Services, her lawyer, Joe Tucker, said Wednesday.
Goodwin was walking on 16th Street about 6 p.m. on Jan. 15, 2015, when Rebecca Kim fell from an eighth-floor window of an apartment building at 1530 Chestnut St. The building housed students enrolled at the Art Institute; Kim, a Temple University freshman, was there visiting a friend.
According to court documents, Kim told her friend she wanted to take photos from the ledge, then either fell or jumped, landing on Goodwin.
The Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office ruled Kim's death a suicide.
Goodwin suffered seven vertebrae fractures in her spinal column, Tucker said, and underwent spinal-fusion surgery. She also had broken ribs and a fractured shoulder bone, and chipped or lost some teeth. At times, she needs the assistance of a walker to move around, Tucker said.
Goodwin's lawsuit, filed Friday in Common Pleas Court, says she has suffered physically, emotionally and financially.
It names as defendants the administrator of Kim's estate; Pittsburgh-based Art Institutes and its parent company; the Art Institute students who lived in the apartment; the companies that managed and owned the building; and related entities. The building was maintained by the Art Institute of Philadelphia, managed by Cross Properties Realty of Bala Cynwyd, and owned by 1530 Chestnut Street Associates.
The suit says some of the windows in the apartment building were bolted shut, while others were easy to slide open.
The defendants "were aware or should have been aware that students often opened the windows . . . and would throw objects from the windows or partake in other dangerous and unsafe behaviors," the suit says. "Despite this knowledge, defendants failed to take corrective action to prevent injury to others."
Anne Dean, a spokeswoman for the Art Institutes and its parent company, Education Management Corp., said Wednesday that she could not comment on pending litigation.
The other defendants could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
In December, Kim's uncle and estate administrator, Richard Sin, filed a similar lawsuit in Common Pleas Court, arguing that the school and the property managers failed to properly secure the windows and take other measures to prevent students and their guests from going onto the window ledges.
[This story was updated to clarify what type of fractures Goodwin suffered in her spinal column.]