On June 14, 2017, an Appellate Court upheld a Suffolk Couty jury verdict which found an elementary school responsible for carelessly assigning an 8th grade student to close a sliding gate without any instructions, supervision or warning. The 8th grade boy was not informed to be careful even though three children, on prior occasions, had suffered injuries to their hands. The young boy did as he was told and in the process of closing the sliding gate severed the tips of his middle and ring fingers on his left hand.
At trial there was evidence showing that an inexpensive safety device was available that would have prevented the injury. The jury awarded the boy $600,000 in past and future pain and suffering.
The school's insurance company lawyers tried to blame the boy for the accident, but the jury found the boy was blameless. The insurance company attorney's also argued that the jury shouldn't be told about the other 3 children who suffered similar injuries with the exact same sliding gate and appealed on that ground. The Appellate Division, Second Department held that the prior accidents were reliable and probative on the issue of whether the sliding gate presented a dangerous condition since its condition was never changed or repaired subsequent to any of the accidents. 2017 WL 2562852 Martin v Our Lady of Wisdom Regional School