VANCOUVER, Wash. -- A Vancouver, Wash., city councilwoman is seeking $500,000 from the nearby city of Ridgefield, contending that city's mayor injured her left eye with an errant toss of a foam "stress ball."
Councilwoman Jeanne Harris says Ridgefield Mayor Ron Onslow's toss in June 2011 caused her left retina to become loose and partially detached. She says she faces a potential loss of sight in the eye. She told The Columbian she has had six unsuccessful surgeries on it.
The ball toss happened after the stress relievers were distributed at an Association of Washington Cities meeting in Spokane. Onslow says he lobbed his ball at a Ridgefield councilman but hit the side of Harris' face. He says he apologized.
The newspaper says Harris has health insurance. Her lawyer, Joseph Daggy, says the claim amount was chosen because it may be enough to compensate her for what the lawyer describes as a serious injury. The claim has been referred to the city's insurance agency.
The Columbian also reported that Harris is going through a contentious divorce and faces financial challenges, filing for bankruptcy in 2011. She closed her insurance business last year.
The paper asked her point blank if the suit was an attempt to deal with her financial difficulties. "One has nothing to do with the other. Don't you dare say that to me," she replied.
Harris was formally reprimanded in 2010 for an outburst during a city council meeting that gained national attention. She lashed out at the mayor, another councilor and a citizen and later apologized.