On June 15, 2018, a Manhattan jury held five property owners who managed the facilities at East River Plaza Shopping in East Harlem, responsible for the devastating brain and neck injuries suffered by Marion Hedges, a 53 year old philanthropist. On October 30, 2011, Ms. Hedges was standing outside a Costco retail store with her son when she was struck in the head by a shopping cart thrown off a roof 79 feet above her. Two boys ages 12 and 13 were convicted of the crime as juvenile offenders. A surveillance videotape revealed that a third boy tried unsuccessfully to stop his friends. The property owners were held liable based on evidence that they were aware thru prior incidents that objects had been thrown off the roof prior to this tragic incident and the property owners failed to take reasonable steps to secure the area from the public.
The five property owners were found 65% responsible, a security company found 25% responsible and the two boys were found 10% responsible. Though the trial took five weeks to complete, the jury decided the case in under four hours. The verdict awarded Hedges:$40.7M for past and future pain and suffering, lost wages and the cost of an aide to help her for the rest of her life. Her husband was awarded $2M for loss of consortium and her son was awarded $2.5M for the emotional distress of being exposed alongside his mother while in the zone of danger. Hedges v East River Plaza, LLC - Sup Court, New York County - Index No: 101854/12