09/20/22 Hammond Courthouse (copy)

A lawsuit in which a Lafayette man sued a sanitation company after he slipped in a portable toilet before a Purdue home football game last season has been moved to federal court.

Timothy Stevens originally filed a lawsuit in Tippecanoe Superior Court against Service Sanitation Inc., a corporation based in Homewood, Illinois. Service Sanitation is contracted by Purdue to place portable toilets around Ross-Ade Stadium on game days, among other tasks.

Stevens entered a “handicapped size port-a-pot” during a Purdue football game in September 2021. It was raining that day, and the port-a-pot was placed on uneven ground, according to the lawsuit. The rain allegedly made the floor of the port-a-pot wet without any way for the water to drain.

Stevens slipped and fell upon entering, the lawsuit said, resulting in two fractures in his upper left arm. Steven’s attorneys argue in the lawsuit that Service Sanitation failed to ensure that the port-a-pot was placed in a safe location clear of water and other liquids that can create a slippery service.

The plaintiff demanded damages for physical pain, emotional suffering, medical expenses from the fractures and lost wages from missing work. It does not describe what his injuries were.

Service Sanitation responded claiming Stevens assumed the risk when he entered the port-a-pot, and the injuries he suffered were his own fault. It also argues that the port-a-pots were placed “exclusively at the request of, and in accordance with the specific direction of, Purdue University.”

A judge approved a motion filed in early November by Service Sanitation to transfer the case to federal court because it’s based outside of Indiana. It will be heard in the Northern Indiana District Court in Hammond, Indiana.

Recommended for you