Lenoir City, utilities, others named in lawsuit

Brittany Davenport News-Herald

A man was injured after allegedly falling in a manhole located near AutoZone on U.S. Highway 321, according to Loudon County General Sessions Court documents.

Toby Rhynehart, also listed as Toby Rhinehart, is suing several entities including the city of Lenoir City and the Lenoir City Utilities Board after he claims he was walking across a manhole cover at the store, when it flipped over and he dropped into the hole, according to the Loudon County General Sessions Court civil summons.

The date of the incident was not found in the lawsuit according to Court Clerk Janet Thomas, but it does state Rhynehart went to the Fort Loudon Medical Center emergency room on June 19, 2010.

The plaintiff injured his wrist, back and knee, according to the summons. It also stated he suffered from memory loss, bulging discs and degenerative facet changes, causing him continuing back pain.

Rhynehart incurred $4,559.78 in medical bills, the warrant stated.

AutoZone Inc. and Tellico Station Inc. are also listed as defendants in the suit.

Rhynehart is suing for damages less than $25,000, according to civil summons.

The suit against the city was not filed in proper jurisdiction, said Lenoir City Attorney Jim Scott. "Pursuant to statute, General Sessions Court is the wrong jurisdiction for Lenoir City to be sued as a municipality, therefore I expect a motion to dismiss based upon such grounds to be filed at some point," he said.

Rhynehart is being represented by A. Thomas Monceret of Knoxville.

Calls to Monceret's office, AutoZone's legal department and LCUB were not returned by press time.