The widow of the retired Slippery Rock University professor who died this summer after falling head-first through a glass door at a local Pennsylvania sandwich shop has filed a wrongful death suit on his behalf against the business.
In court papers recently filed at the Butler County Courthouse, Cythia Brunken alleges that the annealed glass at the front of Bob’s Sub and Sandwich Shop in Slippery Rock “constitutes a well-known safety hazard when broken because such glass can break into large, sharp and unreasonably dangerous jagged shards if impacted” and was culpable in her husband’s tragic death.
Sixty-nine-year-old Glen Brunken was on his way to lunch on June 13 when he tripped and fell through the sandwich shop’s glass doors, suffering severe lacerations, according to court documents. First responders quickly arrived and feverishly began life-saving measures in the hopes of slowing the profuse bleeding, but Glen Brunken soon succumbed to his injuries at a local hospital.
“Upon contacting the glass entrance doors, one of the panes of glass broke in such a way that it created large, sharp, and unreasonably dangerous jagged shards of glass that caused severe and serious lacerations and trauma to Mr. Brunken’s neck, face, head and body,” the complaint says.
Cynthia Brunken alleges in her suit that Cindy Marlowe, the owner of Bob’s Sub and Sandwich Shop, knew the glass doors were unsafe, and, “despite owning and operating the restaurant and premises for decades … never even attempted to make the plate glass entrance door even marginally safer, such as through the application of widely available safety films that are applied to glass and cost only a few dollars per square foot of coverage.”
Both Marlowe and Cynthia Brunken’s Pittsburgh-based attorney, David M. Moran, declined comment when reached by phone.
Cynthia Brunken, who is seeking unspecified punitive damages, alleges in court papers that the tragedy could have been avoided had the plate glass entrance door conformed to safety standards or contained adequate protections.
“Despite the known and obvious risks involved with the use of plate glass or annealed glass entrance doors, the glass entrance door used at the Bob’s Sub and Sandwich Shop restaurant on June 3, 2013, contained dangerous plate glass or annealed glass, and did not incorporate adequate or safer glazing material, rendering the glass door unreasonably dangerous to customers, business invitees and specifically, Glen W. Brunken,” according to the complaint.
The widow added that Marlowe had even “admitted to the 911 dispatcher that Mr. Brunken fell through the restaurant’s ‘plate glass’ door” when she called for help.
“Had the glass entrance door to the restaurant contained safety glass or safety glazing material, Mr. Brunken’s serious neck lacerations, and ultimately his death, would have been completely avoided,” the complaint continues.
The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office listed the cause of death as “accidental sharp force injury to the neck due to ground level fall” and performed no autopsy.