. .

Invest in your success.
JVRA helps lawyers win cases by providing critical information you can use to establish precedent, determine demand and win arguments.

ARTICLE ID 193530

$________ – MUNICIPAL LIABILITY – TORT CLAIMS ACT – NEGLIGENT FAILURE OF MUNICIPALITY HOSTING D.A.R.E. PICNIC TO USE ROPE FOR TUG OF WAR – ROPE BECAME WET AND WEAKENED – PINKY FINGER OF INFANT PLAINTIFF IS AVULSED WHEN ROPE SNAPS – AMPUTATION

Mercer County, NJ

This action involved an infant plaintiff, age 11 at the time of the incident, who was participating in a picnic sponsored by the defendant municipality, in which the plaintiff contended that the defendant negligently failed to use a rope that was reasonably safe for the tug of war.

The rope had been used for this purpose during several picnics in the preceding few years, and became wet and weakened while being stored in-between picnics. The plaintiff also maintained that the defendant negligently failed to even out the number of children and strength on each team, heightening the hazard. The evidence reflected that during the game, the rope suddenly snapped, and that the pinky finger on the right, non-dominant hand was avulsed. The traumatic amputation almost reached the base, and although the finger was quickly located and kept on ice, reattachment surgery was not feasible, and the amputation was surgically completed. The infant plaintiff also suffered a fracture of the adjacent finger that was casted.

The plaintiff’s recreational expert, as well as the plaintiff’s engineer, would have discussed guidelines relating to factors such as the strength and diameter of ropes used in a tug of war, and the plaintiff would have maintained that such considerations were not addressed by the defendant. The plaintiff’s expert would have further contended that guidelines relating to the relative number of children, size, and weight of each side should be followed, and the plaintiff maintained that these factors were not additionally considered.

The plaintiff supported that the rope became wet and weakened when stored, and the plaintiff’s recreational expert would have testified that considerations of children safety, which are paramount, were not adequately addressed.

The incident was captured on a cell phone video, and as the rope snapped, the finger was avulsed. The evidence disclosed that the defendant immediately reacted, and set up a grid to quickly search for the finger. It was found, and properly placed on ice. The infant plaintiff was rushed to a local hospital, and then airlifted to CHOP. The physicians realized that reattachment surgery would not be successful, and the amputation of the finger to the base was completed.

The plaintiff would have maintained that although left hand dominant, the infant plaintiff experiences very substantial functional deficits because of the injuries. The infant plaintiff was very musically inclined and played the piano, violin, and trumpet. The plaintiff contended that he no longer plays the piano or violin because of the injuries, and that although he can continue to play the trumpet, he is restricted. The plaintiff would have argued that the jury should consider these factors on the issue of enjoyment of life.

The plaintiff further maintained that he is very self conscious about the injuries, and the plaintiff would have pointed out that even when he is not aware of it, the infant plaintiff tends to hide his hand in his pocket or under a table. The plaintiff would have also argued that he becomes very self conscious when called to shake hands.

The plaintiff would have further maintained that the jury should consider that he will suffer the injuries for the remainder of a very substantial life expectancy.

The plaintiff made no income claims.The case settled prior to trial for $________.

To read the full article, please login to your account or purchase

5 ways to win with JVRA

JVRA gives you jurisdiction-specific, year-round insight into the strategies, arguments and tactics that win. Successful attorneys come to the table prepared and use JVRA to:

  1. Determine if a case is winnable and recovery amounts.
  2. Determine reasonable demand for a case early on.
  3. Support a settlement demand by establishing precedent.
  4. Research trial strategies, tactics and arguments.
  5. Defeat or support post-trial motions through past case histories.

Try JVRA for a day or a month, or sign up for our deluxe Litigation Support Plan and put the intelligence of JVRA to work for all of your clients. See our subscription plans.