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ARTICLE ID 167807

- Negligent supervision - 7-year-old minor injured on trampoline - Fracture of left ankle requiring open reduction internal fixation and five subsequent surgeries - Surgical hardware installation and removal.

Suffolk County, NY

The female 7-year-old plaintiff was injured on April 29, ________, on the defendant’s backyard trampoline when three children were using it. She sustained a Salter Harris fracture of her left ankle leading to non-union. Her parents and she commenced this action against the defendant, alleging that the plaintiff was injured due to the rebound effect of having more than one person on the trampoline at a time. The plaintiffs further alleged that the defendant mother was negligent in her supervision of the jumping on the trampoline and in her permitting more than one person on it. The defendant argued that she was supervising the activities on the trampoline and was unaware of any guidelines requiring that only one person jump on the trampoline at a time. The defendant maintained that she, therefore, exercised reasonable care.

Initially, the plaintiff’s fractured left ankle was treated with open reduction internal fixation. Subsequently, the surgical hardware was removed, but the injury was in the growth plate requiring both left and right epiphysiodesis of each leg and a corrective osteotomy of the left ankle. The plaintiffs allege that the child has bilateral leg shortening and a limp. She has substantial scarring.

The plaintiff’s expert is a professor in sports development and physical education with a background in gymnastics and trampoline usage. He opined that the defendant negligently failed to supervise the children and allowed more than one person at a time to use the trampoline, causing the plaintiff’s injury due to the rebound effect. More than one user may cause a phenomenon termed the "rebound" effect, whereby if one person is going up, the second is going down, there is the likelihood that one person will be injured. The defendant argued that the average, reasonable person is not aware of this danger and that she had previously had more than one child jumping on the trampoline without incident.

The parties reached a high/low agreement of $________/$________. After a three-day trial and after deliberating between three and four hours, the jury returned a verdict for the defendant.

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