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Disastrous first kiss leads to lawsuit

Jessica Martinez has filed a lawsuit claiming she was injured when a window broke in this Logan Square building. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

It was a memorable first kiss.

Jessica Martinez, 29, had just had tacos and drinks and was walking down Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square when the guy she was with got up his nerve and leaned in for a kiss.

As they slowly leaned against the front window of a vacant store, it collapsed.

The man fell through the glass into the store, somehow escaping injury.

Martinez fell on top of him, suffering a long, deep gash on her left arm.

The man took off his button-up shirt and used it as a tourniquet before an ambulance arrived shortly after 4 a.m.

Jessica Martinez said the scar from the incident makes her self-conscious. | Provided

“It was unreal how fast it unfolded,” said Martinez, while recounting the September incident during an interview last week with the Sun-Times. “One minute I’m excited, feeling butterflies and the next minute I’m bleeding all over the street.”

The next day a woman was opening a deli a few feet away when she saw the broken glass and a mess of blood on the sidewalk.

“I thought someone had been shot or stabbed,” the woman said.

Martinez has since filed a lawsuit against M. Fishman and Co., the owner of the building, at 2645 N. Milwaukee Ave., claiming the company was negligent. The suit alleges the windows were cracked and had not been replaced during a 2011 renovation. The suit also names a property management company listed at the same address as M. Fishman. M. Fishman did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.

“There is a reasonable expectation of safety in our daily lives that windows and buildings will be secure, or that chairs will be sturdy,” said Martinez’s attorney, Lisa Ciharan. “The owner of this property failed in his responsibility to ensure safety to the pedestrians in this Chicago neighborhood.”

Martinez said the kiss was a “gentle, soft kiss,” not one in which she was passionately thrown against the window. She added that she weighs about 120 pounds, and the man she was with — a comedy writer in his late 20s — weighs about the same.

Martinez at the time was visiting from Dallas, where she works in customer service at a small startup company. She said the long scar on her arm has made her self-conscious.

“I live in Texas. It’s warm, I just started wearing short sleeves two weeks ago,” Martinez said. “It’s been a lot of emotional and psychological stress. How I was going to cover it? What I was going to say to people asking questions and staring and seeing that large scar every day?”

Martinez said the incident has not soured her relationship with the young man, whom she describes as a friend.

“We keep in touch and discuss the scar, how it’s looking, exchange pictures of what it looks like.”

Apart from the scar, the incident will have another lasting impact on Martinez.

“I lean against buildings and windows all the time and I never thought twice about them being unsafe until this incident,” she said.

From now on, she said, she will.