This update is months overdue. Last spring Judge Powell, a Buncombe County NC judge, privately ruled that my complaint against Biltmore Farms LLC, and other entities that Biltmore Farms LLC stated were responsible for my injury, their partner Crosland LLC, and their landscaper, Snowcreek, was dismissed.
Against all legal advice I received, the Judge ruled against the complaint I wrote. All attorneys I spoke with, whom I could not afford to hire, stated that if I clearly wrote the complaint myself, outlining my injury, why it happened, and its consequences, my case would be heard. They advised me. I wrote exactly what they said to write, and even hired (using a credit card) an attorney to represent me for the hearing. She gave an outstanding presentation to all objections made by Mr. Brazille, Biltmore Farms LLC attorney who took a long time to discuss entities that had already been dismissed. Hartford would not give me the names of all entities involved in property ownership where I fell, so I had to include all of them, but was able to begin to dismiss once responses were received. Biltmore Farms LLC attorney acted as if he had no idea that had occured. Another attorney referred to my complaint as "a mess, just a mess".
My complaint was written in English, clearly understandable and with merit. Judge Powell did not ask me or my attorney for any further explanations, nor did he ask other questions. Judge Powell did not rule that day, and instead ruled in private to dismiss my complaint, thereby making any in court discussion between us impossible and an appeal necessary.
I am in no physical or financial shape to appeal. When I filed the complaint in the Buncombe County courthouse I went into cardiac distress and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. My medical bills are well over $50,000.00 and I haven't been able to work onsite since the injury, which means I've had no work income since the injury. Medical evaluations revealed autonomic dysfunction which means impaired breathing, heart reate, blood pressure, sleeping, digestion, and kidney function. The part of the brain involved in autonomic function is the part of my skull that hit the pavement when I fell.
I've lost my health, my business, my work, my financial assests and will loose my home. I haven't had work income for four years due to the fall and injury.
A price cannot be put on the additional harm caused by having to go through the process of trying to hold Jack Cecil of Biltmore Farms and Liam McGee of Hartford Insurance accountable for the hazard that caused my injury, the illegal application of discriminatory 1% contributory negligence NC law, and the abusive claims director at Hartford, that their own corporate team member disagreed with; along with a court complaint that was in English being dismissed by Judge Powell, who didn't express any difficulties with the complaint in court, and a Biltmore Farms attorney, Mr. Brazille who presented incorrect information-what would any reasonable personal ask in exchange for having been put through that kind of harm, while in that kind of physical pain and disability?
Therefore I will continue to take the actions of Jack Cecil, Liam McGee, Judge Powell and Mr. Brazille to government and private entities in order to receive recompense and apology.
Every signature to my petition lets me know that at least that person won't move themselves or their business to North Carolina, as I did, without first knowing the nightmare injustice that exists here in North Carolina. I would never have moved here had I known.
Before reading the original petition below, I was told that it was important for me to speak more about myself personally. I put myself through grad school, and much of undergrad. I am a board certified speech-language pathologist who has worked in hospitals, schools, clinics and nursing homes. I worked in the projects in Chicago and in a private foundation that served the severely emotionally disturbed students from Washington D.C. For five years I worked around the country in places that were unable to hire speech therapists locally.
In more recent years my consulting business was in healthcare helping teams to communicate effectively and thereby provide medical care safely.
I remember many of the faces of the patients, students and staff I've worked with, but can no longer work.
I had just moved here and thought my consulting business would do well here. If not, I always had my certification in speech-pathology. I didn't know anyone except real estate brokers when I fell. Initially I had thought the best of Biltmore Farms, Crosland and Hartford Insurance. Then I thought the court system would provide justice. Here in NC you can't think that way, you have to think the worst first, at least with Biltmore Farms LLC, Crosland LLC and Hartford Insurance; and understand that without the ability to hire an attorney, due process is not a reality, at least not with Judge Powell, in Buncombe County, Asheville NC.
Please continue reading from my initial petition.
This is important to everyone, including me, because in the State of North Carolina if an insurance company can find you 1% in your own injury, per state statute, the property owner is not liable for your injury, even if they caused it.
You could be traveling through the state, visiting, attending a meeting, or living here and this statute would apply to anyone injured here.
I had contacted the North Carolina Insurance Commission because I couldn't understand why both Hartford Insurance and Biltmore Farms LLC would encourage me to file a claim and then not return my email, sometimes for weeks or months; other than to receive two findings of being 1% in my own injury making me ineligible for no more than $2,500.00 in medical expenses, and no compensation for loss of income and no compensation for pain and suffering.
The Commission helped me to understand that if the property owner has you file a claim, and the insurance company is able to find you 1% in your own injury, (which is very easy to do), then the property owner is found to be "not liable" for your injury. That finding would then prevent many people from filing a lawsuit or from being eligible for full medical expenses, loss of income, and pain and suffering reimbursement.
The insurance commission also told me that property owners are aware that an injured person has three years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit agains them.
The three year date passed yesterday, and Hartford Insurance has not documented to me that since I fell on a Biltmore Farms street, Biltmore Farms LLC is the main responsible party-Biltmore Farms LLC was also in partnership with Crosland LLC, that had been responsible for the sidewalk I crossed from.
They stated they did not find the claim "Crosland LLC" to have any liability, which of course is wrong on two counts. First it was Biltmore and Crosland, and second, one, or the other, or both was responsible for not taking care of the hazard they created on their properties, that caused my fall.
The injury and it's losses have "cost" me a great deal, but losing Murphy has been the greatest emotional "cost" to me. Murphy was my dog of nine years; I couldn't take care of him after the fall.
Requests to Biltmore Farms LLC and to their then partner Crosland LLC for help were refused me, and I was told that I had to continue with the insurance process only; even though I'd said I couldn't get responses to my email from Hartford.
I was walking home from the movies on December 20, 2009, here in Biltmore Park Town Square, and I fell trying to cross the street to my condo. I had to step onto a pile of snow that had blocked the walkway and (was piled higher in the crosswalk) from the plowed street, and shoveled sidewalk. When I stepped onto the street, I slipped and my head and back hit the pavement first.
I challenged the first two findings of being 1% in my own injury because I had done nothing wrong, nothing to cause my injury. After over two years I contacted Hartford Insurance corporate offices and they reversed the first two decisions and found that I wasn't responsible for my own injury.
The reversal was handled professionally by a Hartford corporate executive; however, Hartford now will not fully reimburse documented medical expenses, choosing to eliminate some, based on less than detailed medical reporting in others. That elimination results in a fraction of medical expense reimbursement.
And as of this week came to an additional conclusion, since they find no company liability, they don't have to consider any liability reimbursement to me.
Each time I have stood up to them, they've now retaliated to a greater degree.
I hope the AARP can fully understand that what Hartford, in conjunction with Biltmore Farms has done was unethical, and hopefully now will be found to be illegal.
The miniscule amount they offered came with a stipulation that if I accepted it, I was ineligible from any further reimbursement, as in full medical expenses, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
The only word for something like that is cruelty. I rejected that offer and wait for a fair settlement. While I wait, I realize that I will need public support to ecourage Biltmore Farms LLC and Hartford Insurance to do the right thing.
Hartford is a huge national insurance company that offered me a minimal amount. They are aware that I am drowning in medical debt, they've received copies of injury only medical expenses and physician reports; and they know I've had significant loss of income and physical pain.
Hartford Insurance delayed reimbursement for loss of income and reimbursement for pain and suffering, because if they choose to eliminate some medical expenses, somehow, according to Hartford Insurance, they've then eliminated the need to reimburse much for pain and suffering, or loss of income.
Please sign my petition to encourage Jack Cecil, CEO Biltmore Farms and Liam McGee, CEO, Hartford Insurance to stop taking advantage of people injured on Biltmore Property.
The way my injury was handled by both corporations shouldn't happen to anyone, including me.
Meg Conway started this petition with a single signature, and now has 89 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.