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WOMAN SUES LEMIEUX AFTER BEING STRUCK BY A PUCK

A woman who was hit in the nose by a hockey puck at a game five years ago is suing Pittsburgh Penguins star Mario Lemieux and the Penguins for unspecified damages.

Lemieux sat in Allegheny (Pa.) County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday as witnesses described seeing the puck he hit soar over the plexiglass wall and strike Patricia Ward, 33, of Swissvale, Pa., as she was watching the Penguins play the New York Rangers on Jan. 14, 1989.The incident occurred during the second period of the game while play was stopped because of a fight at the other end of the ice.

Ward, who was sitting in Level B, claimed Lemieux and the Penguins were negligent because she was struck during a timeout in violation of NHL rules.

Ward received stitches, developed sinus problems and underwent plastic surgery after she was struck, according to court documents.

Her attorney, Charles Evans, said there is a precedent for such suits. He said a woman who was struck by a baseball during batting practice at Three Rivers Stadium successfully sued for damages.

Lemieux would not comment as he left the courtroom.

Lemieux is sitting out the 1994-95 season due to a variety of health problems.