Injuries: Scalp laceration; ocular distortion; recurrent headaches; and post traumatic stress disorder.
Result: $2,425,000.00 Settlement
Date of Settlement: June 29, 2001
Case Summary: On February 1, 1998, plaintiff, an eleven year old boy, went to an indoor play ground and amusement center in Woburn, MA. He was injured while playing hide-and-seek in a tube slide (a series of twisting interconnecting large plastic tubes approximately 30 inches in diameter). As he entered the tube slide, plaintiff struck his head on the unguarded top edge of the plastic tube and was scalped. Covered in blood, he was rushed to the hospital by ambulance.
Plaintiff brought suit against the owner/operator of the indoor playground, the manufacturer of the plastic tubes, and the installer. Plaintiff contended that the tube slide violated industry standards as its sharp plastic edge could injure children. Discovery and investigation revealed that rubber and/or vinyl guards, which would have prevented the injury, were readily available at a cost of only $22 for each exposed edge. The defendant owner/operator testified that she was never advised of the existence of such guards and would have purchased them had she known of their existence.
Plaintiff alleged that the defendant manufacturer was liable as it knew that its tubes were being sold for use as tube slides and failed to warn of the need for these inexpensive guards. The defendant manufacturer contended that it merely manufactured plastic tubing and was not responsible for its ultimate assembly as a playground tube slide. Accordingly, this defendant maintained that the sharp edge on the tube slide was solely the fault of the defendant installer and that it would have been safe had it been installed in accordance with its instructions.
Plaintiff sustained a scalp injury requiring 25 stitches. He also suffered from concussion, headaches, dizziness, vertigo, and ocular distortion. These symptoms prevented him from participating in sports and recreational activities and caused his grades to decline. Plaintiff also developed post traumatic stress disorder as a result of this incident and manifested additional emotional symptoms including rage attacks, social withdrawal, fearfulness, nightmares, and depression, for which he required treatment. Defendants contended that plaintiff’s symptoms were unrelated to the accident and denied that he suffered from any ocular distortion.
Trial in this matter was scheduled for August 20, 2001. However, the parties reached agreement as follows. Defendants owner/operator and defendant manufacturer paid $425,00.00. The defendant installer settled with plaintiff for $2,000,000.00 with assignment of insurance claim.