Jun 5 2017

Trial Verdict 2016-18: Morrison Mahoney Partner Carole Lynch

Morrison Mahoney Partner Carole Lynch recently won a defense verdict following a three-day trial in Hampden Superior Court. The plaintiff, a six-year-old child, was attending a summer program at a boys and girls club when he fell from a high set of monkey bars and landed on his arm. He underwent an open reduction and internal fixation of the distal radius. Negligent supervision claims were brought against the boys and girls club, the executive director and a staff member who was in charge of the children on the playground. A 93A claim was brought against the insurer which was severed and stayed.

Prior to trial, Carole filed a motion for summary judgment, which was granted for the boys and girls club due to a release and waiver, but denied as to the employees. The judge thought the evidence suggested that the child should have been more closely monitored and stated in his decision that the injury was “foreseeable and avoidable.”

At trial, plaintiff’s counsel focused on the fact that the child was autistic, had been seriously hurt at the club at least once before, and was being supervised by a 13-year-old junior staffer at the time of his injury. The junior staffer saw him on the ladder of the monkey bars but looked away and continued playing football with other children. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that we violated our own policy of having “eyes on the kids at all times.” The defense argued that the required staff ratio was met, the playground equipment was age appropriate, and the child’s autism was not relevant to the accident. The jury deliberated for less than an hour before returning a verdict in our favor.

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