Minnesota News Anchor Sues State After Slip & Fall

Longtime Minnesota news anchor Jeff Passolt is suing the State of Minnesota for negligence in a new slip and fall lawsuit, claiming the State failed to properly maintain a slippery sidewalk outside of the State Capitol, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

Slip & Fall Lawsuit Filed Against State Of Minnesota

In a lawsuit filed last week in Ramsey County District Court, Passolt claims that a slip and fall accident in February of 2017 left him suffering from severe and permanent injuries. Passolt slipped and fell on an icy sidewalk outside the Minnesota Judicial Center, shortly after interviewing former Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.

Snowy Sidewalks

In court documents, Passolt claims the fall has resulted in over $50,000 in medical expenses, pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement, embarrassment and emotional distress, as well as diminished future earning capacity.

Icy Sidewalk Caused Broken Hip

According to the complaint, Passolt broke his hip in the fall, which occurred as a he was returning to his parked car outside the Minnesota Judicial Center. He underwent surgery and had screws installed to repair his broken hip. His recovery from the traumatic accident was complicated by a pre-existing medical condition, diabetes, he said in an interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Suing a state government or municipality isn’t easy, as Passolt has likely learned through his traumatic journey. In Pennsylvania, those hoping to file suit against the City of Philadelphia or the State are required to comply with strict time limits, and must file an early notice of claim to notify the defendant of the suit beforehand.

Anchor: State Failed To Maintain Sidewalk

Passolt says he noticed the presence of “salt or some other surface compound suggesting that the sidewalk has been maintained.” Given the sidewalk’s proximity to the judicial center, and being a well-worn walking path, he says it was a safe bet to assume that the area had been treated adequately for slippery conditions. But when he stepped up onto the curb, his left foot flew out from under him, causing him to fall “violently,” according to court documents. “I was just barely moving when I got across the street,” Passolt said. “I put my foot up on the curb – everything went flying. I had no time to think.”

In court documents, the TV anchor says he would expect the area outside the State Capitol “would have received the utmost care and attention for those maintaining it to provide safe walking for those known pedestrians.” Passolt says that there are products available to “provide traction to pedestrians even through changing conditions,” but accuses Minnesota’s Department of Administration of failing to use them, creating an unreasonably dangerous condition outside the State Capitol.

Passolt says the slip and fall was a direct result of the Minnesota Department of Administration’s negligence. The news anchor is now awaiting a hip replacement.

State Lays Blame On News Anchor

While the Minnesota Department of Administration has repeatedly refused to answer requests for comment, the state agency shot back at Passolt in its answer to the complaint, laying the blame squarely at the feet of the news anchor. In a new court filing, the Department of Administration claims the accident was the result of Passolt’s own negligence, or else the negligence of others over whom the Department has no control.

A native of Minnesota, Passolt worked as a sports anchor at KARE 11 for several years before moving to Denver in 1993. He returned to Minneapolis in 1996 to accept a job as a news anchor with Fox 9, where he has worked ever since. He was inducted into the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2017.