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ARTICLE ID 33984

$________ - NEGLIGENCE BY KINDERGARTENTEACHER IN SELECTING SITE FOR CHILDREN TO GO SLEDDING - CHILD CRASHES HIS SLED INTO METAL FENCE AT BOTTOM OF HILL - DISPLACED RIGHT DISTAL FEMUR AND FRACTURE THROUGH GROWTH PLATE - TWO SURGERIES PERFORMED WITH MULTIPLE SURGERIES ANTICIPATED IN FUTURE.

Erie County

On January 26, ________, the defendant, a kindergarten teacher, took her class on a school outing to a park that was hosting a winter carnival. The teacher selected a site for the children to go sledding. At the bottom of the hill that the teacher had chosen was a metal fence. The plaintiff, a minor, crashed his sled into the fence. The family of the minor, on his behalf, sued the City p 7 3 of Buffalo and its Board of Education alleging that they were negligent through the teacher’s negligence in selecting a hill for sledding which had an obvious hazard at the bottom. The defendants argued that the teacher’s choice was reasonable since she had seen other children and teachers sledding there that day without incidence. The plaintiff allegedly suffered a displaced right distal femur and a fracture through his growth place for which he underwent two surgeries and for which it is anticipated he will undergo multiple surgeries in the future.

On behalf of the plaintiff, an engineer and winter recreation expert testified on the issue of liability. On the defendants’ behalf, a playground and winter recreation expert testified. Both experts agreed that a sledding hill must have an unobstructed "run-out". A run-out is defined as a flat or reverse incline area at the bottom of the hill, which would allow for gradual and complete stopping of the sled prior to reaching any obstruction.

The plaintiff’s expert opined that the hill was dangerous and not safe for sledding. The defendants’ expert opined that the hill was reasonably safe for sledding. On the plaintiff’s behalf, his treating orthopedic surgeon testified that the plaintiff had suffered serious and permanent injuries that would require multiple surgeries including partial fusion. Also on the plaintiff’s behalf, his radiologist testified that MRIs confirmed the diagnoses made by the orthopedic surgeon.

On behalf of the defendants, their examining orthopedic surgeon acknowledged that the plaintiff had suffered serious injury but did not think he would need future surgery. He recommended that the plaintiff continue to be monitored.

The verdict found the Board of Education and City of Buffalo negligent through the negligent actions of the teacher. They awarded the plaintiff $________, of which $________ was for past medical expenses, $________ was for future pain and suffering to span 63.5 years, and $________ for future medical expenses.

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