Lawsuit seeks $2.4 million from Sullivan County for death of man at transfer station

J. H. Osborne • May 14, 2019 at 9:12 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — The widow of a man who died after falling into “the pit” at Sullivan County Solid Waste’s transfer station in Kingsport last year has filed a $2.4 million lawsuit against the county.

Crystal Quinn is listed as plaintiff on her own behalf as well as the behalf of her late husband, Mark Quinn, and their minor son.

The lawsuit, filed in Sullivan County Circuit Court last week, names Sullivan County government, on behalf of the county’s Solid Waste Department, as the defendant. It claims Mark Quinn’s death was caused by the negligence of the county and seeks: $600,000 on behalf of Crystal and Mark Quinn for damages including but not limited to loss of consortium; compensatory damages of $1.2 million; and $600,000 on behalf of the 14-year-old son for loss of parental consortium. The son, the lawsuit states, “has suffered and will continue to suffer the loss of parental companionship, education, training, and support from his parent ... Mark Quinn.”

Mark Quinn fell approximately 10 feet into “the pit” at the county’s solid waste transfer station on Brookside Lane in Kingsport, according to the lawsuit. He was “seriously injured” in the head and spine and died from his injuries, but not before incurring substantial medical and related expenses and enduring “much pain and suffering,” the lawsuit states. 

Quinn was “a guest” of the county and unloading trash into “the pit” when he fell on August 31, 2018, according to the lawsuit, and his fall “was the result of unreasonably dangerous or defective condition” on the county’s property. The lawsuit specifically lists the lack of an “adequate” guardrail and states the property did not meet property maintenance and building code guidelines in place in Kingsport. It states there were no chains or barriers to prevent access or immediate proximity to “the pit.”

The county, the lawsuit states, should have known trash, debris, or liquids near the edge of “the pit” posed a slip and/or trip and fall hazard.

Crystal Quinn is represented by a Knoxville law firm, and the lawsuit seeks a jury trial.