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ARTICLE ID 29196

$________ GROSS INCLUDING $________ PUNITIVE AWARD - PRODUCTS LIABILITY - DESIGN DEFECT - NEGLIGENCE - ________ POUND FOLDING CAFETERIA TABLE FALLS ON NINE-YEAR-OLD GIRL AT SCHOOL AND CAUSES HER TO SUFFER PERMANENT BRAIN INJURY RESULTING IN SEIZURE DISORDER.

Bethel County, Alaska

The minor plaintiff was permanently injured when a folding ________ pound cafeteria table fell onto her while she was at school. The defendant denied a causal relationship and maintained that the infant plaintiff was responsible for her own injuries.

The evidence revealed that the nine-year-old female plaintiff was in the cafeteria at her school when a seven foot tall, ________ pound folding table manufactured by the third party defendant fell on top of her. Shortly thereafter, the child developed a seizure disorder which has left her permanently brain damaged. The child has suffered at least a dozen seizures since the incident.

The plaintiffs brought suit against the school district for negligence. The school district filed a third party action against the manufacturer of the tables alleging a defective design. The plaintiffs settled with the school district for the sum of $________ prior to trial. The allegations against the third party defendant were for defective design and for knowingly distributing a table with a design that had been de-listed by Underwriters Laboratories.

The defendant distributed the table maintaining that it was UL- p 7 3 listed. During this period of time the plaintiff contended that the defendant manufacturer was in fact redesigning the cafeteria tables to be less prone to falling over while in the folded position, such as was the case in this incident.

The defendant manufacturer maintained that the plaintiff was at least partially responsible for her own injuries since it alleged that the children had been warned not to play around or on the tables. The defendant contended that the infant plaintiff disregarded these warnings and was liable for her own injuries as a result. The defendant further alleged that there was no causal connection between the plaintiff’s seizure disorder and the injuries she sustained in this incident.

The trial lasted two weeks and the jury deliberated approximately three hours before returning its verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The jury apportioned the liability 90% to the third party defendant manufacturer and 10% to the defendant school district with whom a settlement had already been reached. The trial for punitive damages lasted one day and the jury deliberated for approximately two hours before awarding punitive damages.

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